If you’ve been following the Booth Brothers, you know that Michael Booth’s philosophy of song selection has undergone some changes in the last few years. He has become more committed to quality than ever, particularly when it comes to the theological content of a lyric. In an interview, I saw him say that in retrospect, he could think of songs the group had recorded in the past that he probably wouldn’t record today (though obviously he didn’t name any names!)
It prompted me to think, “What are some old or older songs recorded by the Booth Brothers that Michael would still like today?” This is what I came up with, in no particular order. There are a few hits in here, but I’ve tried to focus on lesser-known or overlooked numbers. I’ll give a brief description of each song, followed at the end by a grooveshark widget that puts them all in a playlist for you to enjoy:
Just Beyond the River Jordan: This is a great song from the pen of Jim Brady’s wife Melissa, who’s had success with songs like “Homecoming Day.” It has a minor-key folkish sound that would suit a singer like Alison Krauss quite well. Definitely a very underrated piece. The Brothers also recorded this on Live! At Lakeland, and to my knowledge it’s the only time they cut it. At the time it was one of Michael’s favorites. I wish they’d pull this one out and stage it again.
Under God: I haven’t seen them perform this in concert much, but it was a good live song for them around 2005 when it came out on the self-titled Booth Brothers project and was featured on their An Evening With the Booth Brothers DVD (another good OOP video). A music video was created for it that featured many timely and appropriate images, such as the Ten Commandments statue that was taken out of the Alabama Supreme Court. The lyric doesn’t pull any punches, and I would like to think it would still resonate with Michael today. It is admittedly very “God and country,” but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Lord, I’d Be Lost Without You: This was a Bishops cover during the Brothers’ Ron Sr. era. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Michael had the feature on it. The track they used was exactly the same as the Bishops’, but I enjoyed the Booths’ delivery more. It’s got some very heartfelt lyrics, and the music has a nice 70s Imperials feel.
I Will Lift My Eyes: Another forgotten number, this one a Ronnie feature from the 1999 release Walkin’ On the Good Side. The lyrics are essentially a Psalm paraphrase, and the melody is truly gorgeous, with some very interesting chord changes. This is one of Ronnie’s best recorded vocals, IMO.
This Love is Mine: Yet more Mosie. The Booth Brothers’ arrangement first appeared on their Smith-era project This Stage of Grace and was resurrected more recently on Michael’s first solo project. Their DVD Live in Louisville featured a moving performance of this number from Michael. I have no doubt that he’d record it today in a heartbeat.
Crucified With Christ: This is a great example of a CCM song with solid theology that also lends itself to Southern Gospel. The Booth Brothers recorded this on their Harmony project, and it was also featured on Live at Oak Tree. It’s the sort of song that wouldn’t feel at all out of place on a post-Declaration project.
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