It was a happy day when I heard the news that the original Hinsons were getting back together for a recording and national tour. In April of 1993, the “One More Hallelujah” Tour came to Charlotte, North Carolina at the auditorium on the old PTL property…the same stage where they tore it up a few years before with “Old Time Feelin’” and “Original Superman”. It was one of the best concerts I had ever been to. The crowd was small (only a few hundred and I never understood why), but they were definitely a Hinson crowd and the Hinsons sang like they were singing to thousands. It was weird seeing the Hinsons performing to tracks though, but they did have a keyboard player (I don’t recall who it was), and their former bass player, Kerry Huckaba was there playing bass. Kenny would pick up the guitar for a few songs, but everything else (music-wise) was via soundtrack. It was an exciting and unforgettable evening, and I am glad I was able to attend. Since I didn’t get a whole lot of exposure to the Hinsons in concert growing up, it was worth the 2 ½ hour drive to experience them live one more time.
Appropriately titled, “One More Hallelujah”, the recording was produced by Kenny Hinson and former Hinson pianist, Dirk Johnson. Along with Johnson, a few more Hinson band alumni also played on the recording including Gary Prim, Kelly Back and Scott Sanders. I think having those core musicians on this recording helped capture that magical Hinson sound and it played a big part in making this such a spectacular recording. The Hinsons weren’t coming back to experiment with new styles and sounds; they knew what their fans wanted…classic country gospel as only the Hinsons could do, and the Hinsons delivered on that with “One More Hallelujah”. I love the overall feel of this recording, and I felt it captured the “Original Hinsons” perfectly!
As if they were picking up right where they left off 4 years prior (5 years since any new music had been released), the recording kicks off with one of my personal favorites from this recording, “Sing One More Song About Heaven”. Speaking the sentiment of many of their fans who tend to prefer things the old-time way, the song was a favorite for a lot of people and the song did decently in the charts, peaking at #13 for November and December 1994. Kenny turns in one his finest vocal performances on the song before the tempo gets kicked into high gear for the convention style, “Joy Comes in the Morning” (I hear a big Goodman influence on this song too!). This song was the first single from the recording, and it wound up being a big hit for the group peaking at #9 in July 1993. Written by Larry, the song recalls the youthful energy and Pentecostal fervor of the Hinsons from the early 70s, and it was such an exciting song, especially in concert! The video on You Tube of the group singing this song in Tula, Oklahoma is a spiritual experience, and no, Yvonne didn’t dance when I saw them in Charlotte. The song is still a popular one as it still shows up once in a while, as other groups have enjoyed covering the song over the years.
Written and featuring an outstanding performance by Kenny, “I’ll Never Be Over the Hill” was another popular song from this recording and it was such a relatable song for so many people. Featuring their famous play on words, the song did very well on the charts, peaking in May 1994 at #3. This is one song I love to crank up and sing along with in the car…such a great song!
With a flourish of strings and steel guitar intro, Yvonne steps up to sing “Come As You Are”. As a call for the lost, the song was a concert favorite during their “One More Hallelujah” Tour. During their stop in Charlotte, NC, they stopped the show to have an altar call as people were coming down the aisle in the middle of the song. Kenny and Larry came down to pray with people and Larry took to preaching at that point, and it was a special moment in the program that night and I am glad I was there to witness it.
The tempo picks up for the fun, “Rain on You”, which showcases a charismatic performance by Kenny, before Larry steps up to sing the first verse of his own song, “There’s Only One Real Hero”. Kenny takes the 2nd verse and carries the lead out to the end before he delivers the heartfelt message of “The Broken Worthless Vessel”. Kenny wrote the song in the spirit of “Call Me Gone” and “Let Me Tell You His Name Again”, and the song is a genuine expression of gratitude to the Lord. Mike Bowling did a great job on the song on his “Influenced & Inspired: Remembering Kenny Hinson” recording, and even included Kenny’s son, Weston, on the song and had him do the recitation portion of the song. I love the honest vulnerability of the lyric, and it remains one of my favorite Kenny Hinson penned tunes.
Kenny also penned the upbeat, “What on Earth Are You Waiting For”. Filled with nice fiddle accents, it’s an enjoyable tune with some nice harmony by the Hinsons, before moving on to a song that has a wonderful play on words entitled, “He’s Not Just Another Face in the Clouds”. Written by Ronny, I love the old-fashioned feel of the song (I do love the sound of an upright bass) and it’s one of my favorites from the recording.
Featuring some really cool piano runs, the up-tempo, “The Church is Still Alive” follows the tried-and-true formula with Ronny taking the first verse and Kenny ramping things up on the second verse. It’s a throwback to that exciting sound that initially brought the Hinsons to the table years ago, and is a highlight of the recording, before the recording closes out with Larry Hinson’s masterpiece of a song, “I’ve Been to Heaven”. Featuring Ronny and Larry, it’s a gem of a song that has been covered a couple of times over the years, including the Hoppers, who did a magnificent job with their rendition of the song back in 2010 on their “Something’s Happening” recording.
In an interview in 1993 for the Gospel Voice magazine, it was mentioned that the group would be continuing their tour beyond 1993 and talks were in the works about doing another recording. Had things been different, the Hinsons may have continued for a few more years, but sadly, the tour came to grinding halt when Kenny was diagnosed with cancer and he would eventually succumb to it on July 27, 1995. At the young age of 42 years old, the voice that identified the sound of the Hinsons was stilled. The remaining group (Ronny, Larry and Yvonne) has made some special appearances here and there over the years and there has been some aggregation of the Hinsons since then, with either Bo Hinson (Bo Hinson & Purpose/New Hinsons/Hinsons) or with Weston Hinson, Kenny’s son (Weston Hinson & By Faith/Hinson Family). They have all done a tremendous job keeping the Hinson name and sound out there.
As for the other original members of the group…after the tour came to an end, Larry continued preaching and singing until he passed away on April 22, 2020. Ronny has continued writing songs and has remained a much sought-after songwriter. He has continued to perform as a soloist and has just released a new solo recording, “Lighthouse: 50 Year Celebration”, which features a brand-new rendition of his classic tune, “The Lighthouse”, as well as several new tunes, including a wonderful tribute to the Hinson legacy entitled, “That Old Silver Eagle”. Outside of a couple of reunion events here and there, Yvonne has remained out of the spotlight, resuming a more normal life with her husband and family.
While the Hinsons (as I know them) are no more, a whole new generation has come along that has caught on to what the Hinsons were doing and are drinking in every video on You Tube and song they can find by the Hinsons. Some are collecting their records and other memorabilia, and it’s just fascinating to me how some of these young people and new listeners are enjoying the music of the Hinsons. Their legacy lives on for new generations to enjoy, and it’s a testament to the power of their music and their songs, and the indelible mark they have made on the church and the musical landscape; there is no doubt that the Hinsons remain one of the most popular groups ever in our genre.
I hope you have enjoyed this weekly walk through each of the Hinsons albums. Next week, we will start with another wonderful group…the Rambos! So stay tuned…
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