James Weaver reports on the comeback of CCM hitmakers David & The Giants
David & The Giants are very much part of American Christian music history. Before they disbanded in 1997, the band - David Huff, Rayborn Huff, Clayborn Huff and Keith Thibodeaux - had a string of Christian radio hits, including 1982's "One Less Stone" and "Highway To Heaven"; 1985's "His Love Lifted Me Up"; 1987's "Why"; 1988's "Celebrate His Power"; 1989's "Hear My Heart"; 1990's "Everybody Needs Love"; 1991's "Time On My Side"; 1992's "Live And Learn"; and 1993's "Dream On".
But the band were already Southern rock veterans before the radio hits started. And when they decided to call it a day, with frontman and guitarist David W Huff producing albums for other artists out of his Georgia-based studio and with occasional solo projects, David & The Giants seem to have slipped into the past, remembered only by aging CCM buffs and a clique of British northern soul enthusiasts, who still dance to their pre-conversion "Ten Miles High" single of 1968. Then, earlier this year, something completely unexpected happened with the announcement of 'What Are You Waiting For?', the first recording as a group for a whopping 23 years.
David W Huff said about the new album, "Sometimes the things in life, the things that you plan aren't always the things that God has in store in his mind. And so David & The Giants recorded our last project actually in 1989 with the drummer that used to be Little Ricky on the I Love Lucy show. So, in 1997, the rest of the group, we all disbanded and so it was never in our minds to ever get back together and record a whole project in the recording studio. But it started in July of last year, all of a sudden songs started coming, just like they did when we were first born again. The more I wrote, the more I felt the songs would really call the rest of the band to get back together. So after a phone call with the guys, we all got back together and recorded this brand new project, 'What Are You Waiting For?', and I haven't been this excited since the day that I was born again."
The excitement in David's voice is infectious and paints a good framework for where David is at both musically and spiritually. Having continued as a solo artist following David & The Giants disbanding, it's somewhat touching that the music David explored and crafted whilst the band remained dormant has now bled into their latest project. "There was one song, 'Don't Mess With Israel', I started on that song maybe eight or nine years ago. I could only write so far and I didn't know where to go from there. So, around August I sent this brother the song 'Don't Mess With Israel' what I had written and the day we had finished tracking here in Georgia, all of a sudden, he sent the song and it was finished. It was like 'we've got to record that on the project too!' And so, with that said the drummer, we had just got through doing the tracking, he was already on his way back to Mississippi! I didn't want to call him and go 'hey, turn around' because he was already at Birmingham, Alabama which is about three hours from where we are."
He continued, "So I went to Mississippi to my brother Rayborn's studio, and he recorded 'Don't Mess With Israel'. Then I brought the files back here and did my overdubs, lead vocals and lead guitars and everything back here. So that was one song that was started about eight years ago; and then in 1997, I wrote a song for Vicki Yohe to do on her project called 'Under The Blood'. That particular one, I knew sooner or later that I was going to do a solo project. I didn't intend it to be on the David & The Giants project but it just felt that we should do that one too and we did. There was another one my brother Clayborn wrote, it's a song called 'I Wasn't Raised Like That', it's got an almost country feel. Since we come from the country, Mississippi, that's just automatic anyway. That completes the album, the rest of them are new songs that started in July of last year."
With the reunion in full-flow, attention will now turn to the road. Although the band have already got some gigging under their belt in their home nation, questions beckon as to whether the band will make the journey across the pond. Having a cult following in the northern soul scene surely bolsters their chances and having only experienced the UK once before, back in 1979, let's hope their next experience is smoother. "We came there in the year of 1979 and went to Oxford and did a five night crusade and it was outside, underneath a tent. It was there where punk rock started and so there wasn't a whole lot of people who showed up except for some punk rockers. They didn't like us singing about Jesus and so they would throw rocks at the tent but we just kept loving them and loving them."
Connectivity seems to be a recurring theme for David here. Although he branched out on a solo adventure in the years since David & The Giants' initial disbandment, the very fact the experiences of said solo venture have intertwined with the band's comeback is special in nature. David doesn't shy away from the fact that this musical journey is part of God's plan. "I know the truth. In 1978 David & The Giants, of course we are serving the Lord, we had gotten back from Louisiana where we sang and my two brothers and I, we shared the recording studio where we were at the time in Mississippi. It was about three in the morning, we were sleeping and I was really tired that night because we had sung the whole weekend and several times in Louisiana. When we went to sleep I heard a voice speaking and this voice was really clear. This voice was saying these words, 'keep on singing, keep on singing my song' over and over again. I knew the voice, Father says that we will hear his voice and follow that voice and know that voice. I recognised that voice as being the Lord, and so it got louder and louder. It was so loud and I said 'yes Lord' and when I said that, the voice immediately stopped. I will always be singing, I will always be singing his song. There is absolutely zero retirement plan in my heart and in my mind and my soul."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.