The Hinsons – Touch of Hinson, Glimpse of Glory (1974)

The Hinsons – Touch of Hinson, Glimpse of Glory (1974)

Touch of Hinson, Glimpse of Glory…that title has always intrigued me. It’s an unusual title to me. While the group may have some input, it’s usually the record company that will ultimately make the final decision on what to title a recording. I’m not saying I like it or don’t like it…it’s just an intriguing title to me. I will say that I DO like the cover shot of the Hinsons on stage. I think it perfectly captures the essence of the Hinsons during this era. Fans of the group who may have been unaware at that time (remember, there was no internet at this time, so people didn’t know about a lot of changes until weeks or even months later), saw a new female singer in the group on the cover. During the time period between “We Promise You Gospel!” and this new record, the group moved from California and relocated to Madisonville, Kentucky, and hired Chris Hawkins to replace Yvonne who had decided it was time for her to come off the road. Chris was still very young when she joined the Hinsons and she had some growing to do as an individual and as a singer, but within a couple of years she came into her own and was actually voted “Queen of Gospel Music” in the Singing News Fan Awards for 1976 and 1977. Chris was an integral part of the group’s sound for the remainder of the 70’s and was a big part of making me a fan of their music, as I grew-up watching her on the Gospel Singing Jubilee, as the Hinsons were making regular appearances on the show during the mid and late 70’s.

This album was, once again, produced by Nelson Parkerson, the head of Calvary Records. There are no other production credits listed other than it was recorded at the famed Hilltop Studios in Nashville, so I’m not sure who played on it, but the overall “feel” and musicianship is definitely at a new level. The strides the group made, sound-wise, with their last album, was further enhanced with this newest record. Usually when someone new joins a group, especially during such a pivotal time as this, the group has to rebound somewhat and get new footing. But not the case here, as the Hinsons pressed through and took advantage of the change and allowed Chris to enhance their already blossoming sound. With this album, they were able to create something truly special and unique, and this remains one of my personal favorite Hinson albums. This would also be one of their most popular records, as 4 songs from this album hit the Singing News charts, 2 of which cresting in the top 5!

With its wailing steel guitar and pulsing bass guitar, you know you’re in store for a treat as “Since You Gave Me a Song” gets the recording off and running. Written by and featuring Kenny (with Larry providing harmony vocals on the verses), this fun song was totally different than anything on the Southern Gospel market at the time. While the song didn’t quite break the Top 10, peaking at #16 in October 1975, it was an infectious song that went over exceptionally well in concert.

With its haunting steel guitar intro, the tempo then slows down as Chris sings the poignant, “How Wrong You Are”. Written by Ronny, some may deem the song as being extremely “preachy”, but it has a fantastic message and it causes the listener to really think, especially the listener who may not know Christ. Chris brought back the song on her 2016 solo recording, “The Hinson Side of Me”. Ronny joined her on the song, and they did a phenomenal job on it.

With its exciting electric guitar intro, Larry and Chris each take a verse for the classic, “Sea Walker”. Recorded years ago by Hovie Lister & The Statesmen, the Hinsons put their own spin on this classic song, and it’s a barnburner! Though it only charted in the Top 40 for a couple of months in 1975, the song was a popular concert favorite for the Hinsons and was an integral part of their repertoire for some time.

Slowing things back down a bit, Ronny is featured on one of my all-time favorite songs, “Jesus Found Me”. Though not a Hinson penned song, the song was a concert favorite and was such an important part of their repertoire, that they brought it back as their opening song during their “One More Hallelujah” tour in 1992/1993. To this day, it still remains one of my favorite Ronny Hinson features.

Finishing up this side is the up-tempo, “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Old Time Religion”, which was an odd inclusion to me. Featuring Larry, while the group does a good job with the song, I just never thought the song fit the overall feel of this record and the group just doesn’t sound “natural” on the song. From time to time, the Hinsons would take an old hymn or Public Domain song and re-arrange it to fit their style, and this song falls into that category.

Side two starts with the classic Ronny Hinson penned, “That I Could Still Go Free”. To this day, this song remains one of my all-time favorite Ronny Hinson tunes, and Kenny knocks it out of the ballpark! Many fans thought so as well, as the song spent about 8 months in the Top 20 during the latter part of 1975 and into 1976, peaking at #5 in November 1975. I am still scratching my head as to why this song wasn’t included on their 1976 live album. Since they had included several other favorites and hit songs, why they left this one off is a mystery to me, as it would have been so great to hear it done live!

With guitars blazing, the group kicks into another barn burning Hinson classic, “Hallelujah Meetin’”. Featuring Ronny on the first verse and Kenny on the second verse, the song was a big hit for the Hinsons, charting in the Top 20 for about 8 months, peaking at #4 in November 1975. Let me mention the significance of this vocal arrangement with Ronny taking the first verse and Kenny picking up the second verse; it was always Ronny on first and Kenny on second, and this combination seemed to work really well for the Hinsons as it provided an excellent vocal contrast between their two singing styles. Ronny was pretty straight forward in his delivery, while Kenny was a bit more charismatic and was exceptional at adlibbing and putting his own spin on his verse. It worked on several songs down through the years, and “Hallelujah Meetin’”, though not the first song they had done this way, was the first one where I feel that it really seemed to click.

Chris slows the tempo back down as she takes the lead on an excellent song of consecration, “Potter and the Clay” before the recording closes out with the country feel of the medium tempo, “Carry On”, which features Kenny.

Ronny provides 5 songs for this album, while Kenny has 1 song; the most Hinson songs to date on an album. Soon, the two would be providing all their own material and would rarely go outside their own camp for songs. Larry would eventually pen a few songs the group would record, but Ronny would remain the primary songwriter, with Kenny providing a couple of his own songs for each record. Eventually, as the Hinsons seemed to take more control of their music, Kenny would step in the producer role for the group, but that doesn’t happen until the early 1980s.

One thing I noticed with this record, is that Larry developed his trademark “wailing” in the background, especially on the endings of songs. I’ve noticed it a little bit on some of their earlier albums, but he seems to have perfected it on this record. I think this was as much a part of their sound during the mid and late 70s as Kenny and Chris were. I had mentioned this during my articles on the Goodmans and how each vocalist in the group provided unique qualities that created their sound; the same can be said for the Hinsons…you had Kenny providing exceptional skills as a lead singer and giving them that true country sound, then Chris providing the high end and she had a cut in her voice that could pierce through anything, Ronny (much like Rusty) would provide the bass notes, but could stir your heart with exceptional solo’s and then you had Larry adding his special touch and big booming voice. All these voices came together to give you the Hinson wall of sound that made them such a force during the mid and late 70s.

With the release of this record, the Hinsons hit their stride, and for the next 15 years, they would continue releasing outstanding records and they consistently kept their songs at or near the top of the charts, as well as winning various individual and group awards. Young groups and singers modeled themselves after the Hinsons, and their songs became classics that are still being sung today; some of which are found on this very album…which truly is a classic touch of Hinson, giving us a glimpse of Glory! Well…maybe I DO get the album title after all!

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Category LP Review, Reviews

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