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CD Review: CARROLL PARHAM & DEBBIE BRIDGEWATER - Pickin' & Singing Old Tyme Gospel

Pickin' & Singing Old Tyme Gospel
Power In The Blood - Using My Bible For A Road Map - Blessed Assurance - Just Any Day Now - I Am A Pilgrim - Old Rugged Cross - Old Country Church - You Don't Have To Go Home - Keep On The Sunnyside - Just As I Am - I'll Go Where He Leads Me - Swing Low
There is so much 'real' country music coming from everywhere these days it absolutely boggles my mind.  Texas has always been a thoroughly 'old-time' and 'real' salvation area in America to find the real-deal, but today it has an incredibly high number of incredibly gifted instrumentalists playing the beautiful acoustic music of the past, and obviously the future they are so good.  This album by Debbie Bridgewater (a master on acoustic guitar, mandolin, and upright acoustic bass) and Carroll Parham (a master on the Dobro, mandolin, and upright acoustic bass) have put together a remarkably listenable and undeniably beautifully done album of all time favorites of our gospel music past.  Each and every song they play here bring us directly back to the message of the song, though we might ponder a bit remembering the words, but remember we do, and that is a refreshing accomplishment.  Three of the songs are vocals "Just Any Day Now" "You Don't Have To Go Home" and "Swing Low" are exceptional too.  Debbie does the vocals on these three numbers and it is a pleasant interlude to hear her do these great songs nestled so securely in the instrumental part of the CD.  It's really their amazing ability to put their note-perfect acoustic instruments together to give us such a refreshing 'new' introduction to some great old-timey songs.  Both Carroll and Debbie work the Country Opry in Stephenville, Texas, and they also have individual CD's recorded, however this is the best 'instrumentalist' CD I've heard since I reviewed Eddie Adcock a few weeks ago.  How does this one stand up?  Terrific.  For instrumentalists to do this kind of music so well, first off they have to have an excellent 'ear' for the music. Both of these fine artists have that.  They also have to have a rock solid memory on melody lines and lyrics, just to make the instrumental version come out right.  Sure, they are 'singing' as they are playing, but silently in their own mind.  That's what makes this particular project so absolutely right on the mark for 'pure' and 'heartfelt' passion in the production of it.  Not hard for me to forward this delightful album to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  They've been complaining a little that we haven't had many 'instrumental' CD submissions, but we certainly have one in this remarkable album.  I also appreciate whoever did the final mix.  That person, whoever it was, also had to have an excellent 'ear' in making the instruments blend so well, and to also be able to bring the 'lead' out at just the right places.  I thought the 'mix' on the three vocals was quite well done.  Sometimes, especially in rock music today, the lead vocal is completely swamped into the loud instrumentals.  That doesn't happen on this delightful CD, Debbie's voice is out front, exactly where it should be.  What a treat.  Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Assn.  www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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