The Hinsons – Bubblin’ (1981)

by James Hales | September 7, 2022 10:28 AM

Sometime in late 1980 or early 1981, Larry decided it was time for him to focus his energies on preaching and evangelism and he came off the road; enter Ronny and Kenny’s very young nephew, Eric Hinson. I miss Larry’s big voice in the mix, but Eric’s voice fit in perfectly with what the Hinsons were doing musically at the time, and it was great that they were able to keep it in the family. Eric also added a youthful dimension to the group as the “Hinson kids” were all either over 30 years old or they were approaching 30 at the time, and Eric was still a teenager when he joined the group.

For this latest record, Dr. Nelson Parkerson is back at the helm as Producer, but this time he is joined by Kenny Hinson, as the Hinsons began taking more creative control of their music. Kenny continued playing a huge part in the production aspect of all their music going forward, which helped shape the Hinson sound for the remainder of the 80s. In my opinion, “Bubblin’” was a much more cohesive album than “Song Vineyard” was, and this album also had a more commercial feel to it than any of their previous records did. In looking at the production credits, outside of Gary Prim who has played on the last few albums, this is the first time that members of the Hinson band took active roles playing on a Hinson album as Tracy Richardson (drums), Greg Taylor (bass guitar) as well as Kenny himself on guitar, all played on “Bubblin’”. Like their last album, there are multiple musicians playing the same instrument…2 piano/keyboard players, 3 drummers, 2 bassists, 2 steel guitar players, 4 guitar players, etc., which indicates this album was recorded over the course of multiple days spread out over a few weeks or even a few months. The hard work paid off as I feel that they released an excellent album that was just “bubblin’” over with great tunes exclusively written by either Ronny (7 songs) and Kenny (3 songs).

The exciting, “God’s Gonna Do the Same for You and Me” starts things off in fine Hinson fashion. With its steel guitar and piano intro, Kenny does a great job enthusiastically delivering the verses. The song was a huge hit for the Hinsons, landing them their very first #1 song in July and August 1982.

The tempo slows down as Yvonne does a wonderful job singing, “One Simple Prayer”, which features a beautiful string section with the steel guitar playing hauntingly in the background. Yvonne had a unique way of delivering a lyric, and this was one of her best performances.

With the feel of a mainstream pop/country tune, Kenny is featured on the medium tempo, “Take it to Jesus”. This unique sounding tune was written by Kenny and features the saxophone as well as other unique musical embellishments in the song. It sounds like Ronny, Yvonne and Eric are backing him, but it also sounds like there may be a couple of background vocalists as well. The song has a very encouraging lyric for those who may be struggling with everyday life.

The tempo slows back down as Kenny digs deep into his country soul to deliver the goods on “This Joy is Mine”. With a wonderful steel guitar intro (and fiddle accents throughout), this is a dynamite song, and it is one of my all-time favorite Kenny features and one of his greatest performances…ever. The song is something I could have easily seen Conway Twitty, George Strait or Ronnie Milsap singing. The same can be said about the following song, “Home with You Tonight”, which is my personal favorite song on this album. I absolutely love the inclusion of the chorus of “I Feel Like Traveling On” as a bridge, which I think completes the song. I love the harmonies and I love how Ronny drags the bottom with his bass notes on that bridge. It’s a jewel of a song!

Side two picks the tempo back up with the highly enjoyable, “I Already Know How the Story Ends”, which was written by and features Kenny. Filled with steel guitar and harmonica fills, it has that unmistakable Hinson sound, and the song became a popular concert favorite for the group.

In complete contrast in style from the last song, before Kenny even sings a note of “Keep Jesus in Mind”, you know this is going to be something totally different. Sung as a solo with background vocals, it’s an exciting song filled with horns and electric guitars (quite the guitar solo right before the bridge) and other unique sounds. Though it’s quite the departure from the norm, I always thought it was a really cool song. Kenny does a fantastic job delivering an enthusiastic performance, before the tempo slows down as Yvonne sings one of my personal favorite features of hers, “The Answer is Calvary”. I do love Yvonne’s genuine delivery of the lyric, as she truly makes you believe what she is singing about.

With bongos, steelpan drums and a brass section, Ronny steps up to sing the upbeat, “Look What He’s Done For Me”. With a bit of a Jamaican feel, it’s an infectious song as Ronny is aided by a group of background vocals instead of the group on the song.

The recording closes out with the up-tempo, “Soldier in the Army”, which is Eric’s only feature on this album. Having that classic Hinson feel, it was another concert favorite that remained a part of the group’s repertoire for pretty much the rest of the groups’ duration.

While this album had some unique styles and sounds, it had a lot more continuity to it than their last album did. In fact, I found it to be a very upbeat and happy album, which is probably where they came up with the title, “Bubblin’”. The cover shot was unique and fanciful, and it was nice having a picture of the group on the cover, unlike their last record (generally speaking, I have never been a fan of covers with no picture of the group). Overall, this was a superb sounding recording, and it ranks as one of my personal favorites by the group. With this album, I felt the Hinsons continued to creatively stretch themselves in a constructive and positive way, and there are some real gems on this album. They were able to still do songs in that classic Hinson style, while also expanding their musical horizons. They would eventually tame things down a bit with future albums, but this time period (1980/1981) was a big growth period for the group, and they continued plowing onward…full steam ahead! The Hinsons were trailblazers and weren’t afraid to try new things and were true artists in every aspect of the word. Each record was a musical piece of art, displaying unique hues and personalities, and their music consistently gave us a glimpse into the heart of the Master Creator.

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