Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends - Kennedy Center Homecoming: A Celebration Of Our Faith And Heritage
STYLE: Southern Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 1322- LABEL: Spring House SHD2213 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £5.99
Reviewed by Trevor Kirk
I was a little apprehensive when I shoved this in the CD player, since I had had a difficult listening experience with an earlier Homecoming Friends album. Omens were not good; the first track was a mega-inspirational choir and orchestra piece that was so over the top it should’ve gone into orbit on the space shuttle. However, things soon settled down with the usual preponderance of Southern gospel from The Gaither Vocal Band and some other more ad hoc ensembles, though I wonder how many more versions of “One Day At A Time” we can take; also, I don’t think that Lamelle Harris’s languid version of the USA’s unofficial second National Anthem “America The Beautiful” will stir many pulses this side of the pond. Further Americanisms include The GVB’s acappella “Star Spangled Banner” which sent the audience totally bananas, and Vestal Goodman’s painful rendition of “God Bless America”, which had me reaching for the remote control. On the other hand, I was pleased to hear a nice acappella medley from the Martins, albeit criminally short at just over two minutes, and The Katinas popped up for a tad under three minutes to do their thing; but my heart bled for Jessy Dixon and Andrae Crouch as they strove with might and main to lift a very pedestrian plod of “Soon And Very Soon”- Disciples where were you? And with Sandi Patty also on the cast list, we had to have her teaming up with Lamelle for “I’ve Just Seen Jesus”, which I have to confess is a song that does absolutely nothing for me- if you want an Easter Day classic, it’s got to be Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive”. The whole thing checks in at 22 tracks and nearly 73 minutes; approach with caution, and be prepared to wade through an awful lot of pudding to reach the few tasty bits.
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Kennedy Centre Homecoming finds the Gaithers on the road in Washington DC. This two-hour special includes performances by Sandi Patty, Babbie Mason and the legendary Andrae Crouch.