For the first time ever, the 80s and 90s lineups of the Cathedral Quartet have come together, along with the men they currently sing with, in one of the largest tributes to the legendary group yet. With top-notch production values and legendary singers like Mark Trammell, Gerald Wolfe and Danny Funderburke still bringing it to the table, it really was never possible for this to be a bad project.
This is the list of songs selected:
1. Blood Washed Band
2. We Shall Be Caught Up
3. Wedding Music
4. We’ll Work
5. O Come Along
6. I’ve Read The Back of the Book
8. Can He, Could He, Would He
9. Oh, What A Savior
10. He Made A Change
11. Somebody Touched Me
12. Search Me, O God
First, I love the concept—bringing together a choir of all the Cathedrals legacy groups for the first time. The brand new track “We’ll Work,” plus scrap-iron combos on selected songs with the young basses getting to test their chops on Younce features are also excellent.
And yet, ultimately it doesn’t seem to offer much that’s fresh. For one thing, both Signature Sound and the L5/MTQ/GV/Funderburk gang have each done their own tributes already. So it’s not like this new project is offering the only recent recording of Funderburk or Trammell on one of their signature Cathedrals tunes. Moreover, Signature Sound’s tribute was more musically creative (which admittedly worked better on some tracks than others) and covered a broader swatch of the quartet’s work.
“My Lord Will Send a Moses” — Okay, I’m NOT trying to kick off a big Kirk Talley thread here, but I just think this is a great song, and it could really benefit from the big, hearty sound of all the groups coming together on it.
“Crimson River” — I think I’ve mentioned this one before. I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s so little-known. But you can just hear everyone coming together on these gorgeous harmonies. I would give Pat Barker the bass solo:
“Whosoever Will”: Okay, maybe Danny would feel like he couldn’t replicate his younger performance, but still… an awesome song:
“Hard Trials”: Before you say I’m just suggesting slow songs, how about this classic from Radio Days? Paul Harkey could take the bass, and Ernie could trade off with Gerald Wolfe.
“High and Lifted Up” — How about this overlooked epic? Mark Trammell could knock it out of the park.
“Next Time We Meet”: And finally this, the perfect, haunting finish. I might replace Danny with Ernie to make it a bit smoother.
Replacing even a few of the chestnuts with some of these gems would definitely have piqued my interest in the project more. However, there’s one factor I may not be taking into account, namely that this is first and foremost a concert event, not an album. So, naturally most fans will be more inclined to drive hundreds of miles to hear “Champion of Love” than… well, pretty much anything in this list. And since they needed to write all the arrangements anyway… but even so, why do you need to re-orchestrate “Oh What a Savior”? It’s been performed perfectly well with just piano and bass.
SO anyway, now here’s your chance to nod your head in agreement with me or tell me I’m all wet: a video preview of the project, followed by a little poll. I was especially amused to learn that Gerald hated “Champion of Love” at first and was forced to listen to it for three hours by the producer until he learned to like it! Hey Gerald, I hear your first instinct is often your best…