The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“The Merrill Womach Story “Tested by Fire”
In these short paragraphs one couldn’t possibly tell the Merrill Womach story in its entirety. This album is a musical synopsis, at least, of a life story which defies human interpretation.
The Merrill Womach story is the account of a man whose life has been dramatically and unequivocably touched by God. Scarcely more than a dozen years ago he lay in a hospital bed badly burned as a result of a fiery plane crash which had nearly snuffed out his life. His miraculous recovery because of a deep and unfailing faith in God is reflected in the new award-winning Mel White film “He Restoreth My Soul” (see inside of album).
A New book on Merrill Womach, “Tested by Fire,” also written by Mel White, has been published by Fleming H. Revell Company and describes Merrill’s innermost thoughts and feelings through the ordeal. But through it all, as he sings on this album, God has been with him.
Merrill is singing in concerts now more than ever, and his music service business in Spokane, Washington, of which he is found and president, continues to thrive. Here, then, is a musical feast in which you can revel again and again. As you do, you’ll discover that there is a deep and abiding reason why a man like Merrill Womach is happy – again!”
Merrill Womach is kind of one of my personal heroes, the guy survived a plane crash – and now sings! His book “Tested by Fire” is pretty nice too!
So, the album opens with the title track “Happy Again” – and well, for an opening track it’s pretty great, Merrill has a terrific voice and a man truly dedicated to Christ, plus the lyrics are great! Then comes my favorite Merrill song, “Echoes of Yesterday” which is amazing all around, even the spoken part – I honestly fell in love with Merrill’s singing because of this song. All of it right down to the musicianship rocks. “Lord, Take Control of Me” follows next, it’s a slower song, but still a pretty nice listening experience. The piano playing is quite nice too. Then comes “It All Belongs to You” which kind of sounds like “If I Can Dream” – but it’s not, but it is however a rather good track! Merrill has a very powerful voice too. Then it is followed by Merrill singing one of my favorite gospel tracks, “Through it All” – and well, it is a nice version – though there are some artists who I prefer, but Merrill is still amazing. The A-Side closes with “Reach Out – Take the Hand of Jesus” it’s a bit slower, but over a decent track, I definitely love the choir like backing vocals on this track.
The B-Side opens with “Here Comes the Son” – not the Beatles track, but it’s like that typical church choir and disco mix, it’s a very different listen. “Carpenters Tools” comes next, and it’s a slower song, but it’s not overly bad or anything. It’s a pretty decent track, Merrill is a very talented singer. After that comes “He Was Saying to the World, “I Love You.”” – and once more it’s a slower track, but it’s not bad, it’s very listenable and calming, somewhat relaxing. It’s definitely a very powerful track, especially when it really picks up in the middle. “If I Could Pretend” follows up next, it’s a pretty good track – I feel as though it’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a Gospel album – and what an album to start on! The album ends with “Jesus is Alive” – it goes back to that funk sound, Merrill is definitely a very creative guy with his music. This song itself is pretty interesting, “tell it to the straight man, tell it to the freak that Jesus is alive!” – yup. Merrill is pretty cool. This is the definitely the strongest ending track on a gospel album – ever.
A1 – Happy Again
A2 – Echoes of Yesterday
A3 – Lord, Take Control of Me
A4 – It All Belongs to You
A5 – Through It All
A6 – Reach Out – Take the Hand of Jesus
B1 – Here Come the Son
B2 – Carpenter Tools
B3 – He Was Saying to the World, “I Love You.”
B4 – If I Could Pretend
B5 – Jesus is Alive
New Life Records
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Cover Design – Roger Koskela Agency, San Jose, CA
Arrangements – Dave Williamson
Producer – Paul Stillwell
Engineer – Tony Foster
Recorded in Hollywood
Other Albums I Own by Merrill Womach:
“Happy Again” (Alternate Cover / Reissue)
“I Stood at Calvary”
“Images of Christmas”
“Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”
“My Favorite Hymns”
“Surely Goodness and Mercy”