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Artist: Oak Ridge Boys Project Title: Back Home Again Label: Gaither Music Group Producer: Ben Isaacs Reviewed By: Scott Evans
I first started listening to the Oak Ridge Boys back in the early 1970’s. I had the honor of reviewing their first Spring Hill recording about 10 years ago and I have been enjoying the group’s return to Southern Gospel Music through their additional recording and appearances on the Gaither Homecoming DVD’s since that time. All of this has led to their latest Gospel Music release on the Gaither Music label titled “Back Home Again.” While this is a recording of twelve Gospel Music favorites, these are all brand new, original recordings of these songs from the Oak Ridge Boys. Producer Ben Isaacs has brought out the best in the “Boys” and this recording is one that you will want to hear.
“Lead Me To That Rock” is a rousing start to this recording, The Oak Ridge Boys sang this song on a Gaither Video a little bit ago and this is that same arrangement. It is a rousing start to this project as the guys crank it up on this up tempo song and what a great job they do! The song asks to lead us to that Rock that is higher than we are. God can, and will, help us if we just go to Him. Next on the project is not a Gospel song. William Lee Golden takes the lead on the John Denver classic, “Back Home Again.” The song is a great song and fits right into this project like a glove. In fact, it fit so well, they named the project after it! “Led Out Of Bondage” is an old song in history of Southern Gospel Music. I first heard the Cathedrals sing this song but the Oak Ridge Boys version is on that same level. The unique song has long been a favorite in Southern Gospel Music and I am sure it will be a favorite of the listeners of this project as well. “I Get To” is a neat song that brought back some memories for me. I can remember when I was going up how I constantly said I had to do things like go to church and spend time with my parents. Of course, I’m older now and with a different perspective on life and now I get to go to church and would give just about anything to spend time with my parents who are both deceased. It is a great song with a tremendous message.
“In That Great Gettin’ Up Mornin’” is one of those high energy quartet songs that the Oak Ridge Boys have built a career out of singing. You will love the new version of this song. Of course, the Oak Ridge Boys boasts one of the great bass voices of all time and Richard Sterben shines on the old classic, “Why Me.” That song has such a poignant message as it wonders aloud, what we have ever done to deserve the blessings that God allows us to have in our life. It is a great song to give you a little perspective in your life. “Standing In The Need Of Prayer” is another outstanding song that the Oaks do a wonderful job on. Of course, the message simply reminds that we are in need of prayer. I do not know anyone who could say they don’t need prayer. The Dolly Parton written song “Coat Of Many Colors” is next on the project and I cannot recall ever hearing any other artist except Dolly sing the song. The Oak Ridge Boys do a wonderful job singing this song and the song is really tremendous.
One of my favorite hymns is “The Love Of God.” I was so excited to see the song on the Oak Ridge Boys project that I went straight to it and played it first! I knew it would be a good version of the song and it turned out to be a great version! I have played it many times now and I am continually blessed by this song and the magnitude of God’s Love. “River Of Jordan” is the only song on the project that I was not familiar with. I did enjoy the song though as this song showcases the Oak Ridge Boys Southern Gospel Quartet abilities and roots! It is a great performance that all will enjoy. I believe the greatest bass feature ever written in a song is on “If You Ever Needed The Lord Before.” The Oaks sing that song next and they do not disappoint as the group’s performance and harmony is as smooth as it gets on this awesome song. All good things must come to an end and the Oak Ridge Boys end this project with “Heaven Bound.” I had just about forgotten about this song and I love hearing it again. It is one of those songs that you hear and then go around singing it the rest of the day! What a great ending to this wonderful project.
The Oak Ridge Boys have been one of my favorite groups for several years. I have several of their Country music projects and several of their Christmas projects but it is their Gospel projects that have always been my favorites! This project is another in a long line of great ones and this one is destined to become a classic. There is a nice selection of songs on this project and Ben Isaacs and the Gaither Music staff deliver a top notch performance on the production and orchestration sides as well. Of course, the vocals are classic Oak Ridge Boys and I don’t know of anyone who does it better than that! My favorite songs from this project are “Heaven Bound,” “If You Ever Needed The Lord Before” and “The Love Of God.” The project can be summed up as awesome and if you don’t have a copy yet, you are missing out on a blessing and hours of enjoyment from one of America’s National Musical Treasures, The Oak Ridge Boys! For more information on the Oak Ridge Boys, visit their website at www.oakridgeboys.com.