The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“A HAPPY BLENDING OF SECULAR AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
This album contains a dramatic rebuttal to those who decry the lack of interest in things religious among the youth of today. One of our finest gospel singing groups, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet, have here created a happy blending of secular and contemporary music. It is now fashionable (and honest) to say that gospel music is accepted by the pop world and that pop music has made the easy transition to the world of gospel. The young have, indeed, turned their faces and lifted their voices to God.
Well aware of that youth interest, the Blackwood Brothers have incorporated into their repertoire a trio of popular hit songs which have helped spur the religious renaissance of today’s youth.
Included are Simon and Garfunkel’s haunting Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Put Your Hand in the Hand which was popularized by the young rock group, Ocean. The title song, Amazing Grace, while long a favorite gospel hymn, has now zoomed to the top of the current pop charts as performed by Judy Collins. And in the more traditional vein, the Blackwood Brothers also sing such stirring and inspirational gospel tunes as The Voice of the Lord, Whispering Hope, Thy Hand Shall Lead Me and Sweet Peace. The result is an ideal blending of today’s religiously oriented popular music and the more conventional gospel favorites.
For devotees of inspirational music and for the young, some of whom are feeling the emotional impact of gospel music for the first time, AMAZING GRACE by the Blackwood Brothers comes as a unique musical experience.”
The Blackwood Brothers are one of my favorite Gospel quartets out there, and one of the most well known, this here is one of their 70’s albums, and I’m pretty sure that is a young Billy Blackwood on the cover.
So, the album opens with the title track “Amazing Grace” – and it’s one of my favorite songs, no matter what style it’s performed in, but the Blackwoods deliver it beautifully. I definitely love the Blackwood’s version. Near the end the whole group joins in! After that comes the song “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and I’ve heard quite a few versions of this song, but the way the Blackwoods sing it, is absolutely amazing! Then comes the song “Thy Hand Shall Lead Me” – and one of the voices sounds like a more adolescent voice, so I am assuming it is Billy performing those ones, if not, still doesn’t matter, because they’re pretty good. The song is a bit slower, but still pretty good. After that comes the song “What a Friend” – and it’s a slower track, with the whole group singing and it’s a pretty good one, the piano playing in the background is pretty great too. Then comes a solo part, and it’s pretty good. Then comes the track “Whispering Hope” and it closes the A-Side, it’s another one of the group tracks, and it’s a pretty good track. It’s an excellent way to end the A-Side.
The B-Side opens with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – and it seems to be a Blackwood thing take pop songs and turn them into pop gospel tracks, it’s not a bad thing at all, it’s actually quite great. It’s a wonderful way to open the B-Side, this is the type of music I need in my life. Then comes the song “I Cannot Hide from God” and the baritone vocals on this song are off the wall, they are so deep, it’s intense! “The Voice of the Lord” comes up next, and it’s a pretty great song, I personally like it a lot. Oh boy, then the whole band joins in and it surely wakes you up to the sound of the Blackwoods gospel! It’s great. Then comes the song “I Believe in the Old-Time Way” which starts with the baritone vocalist singing, and then the little voiced guy joins in and it makes for a definite quartet song, it has that barbershop quarter vibe and feel. The album ends with the song “Sweet Peace” and it’s a great way to end the album, though I am kind of disappointed that the album went by so fast, it had a lot of good songs on it.
A1 – Amazing Grace
A2 – Put Your Hand in the Hand
A3 – Thy Hand Shall Lead Me
A4 – What a Friend
A5 – Whispering Hope
B1 – Bridge Over Troubled Water
B2 – I Cannot Hide from God
B3 – The Voice of the Lord
B4 – I Believe in the Old-Time Way
B5 – Sweet Peace
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Arranged by James Blackwood
Recorded in RCA’s Nashville Sound Studios
Recording Engineer – Chuck Seitz
Other Albums I Own by the Blackwood Brothers Quartet:
“16 All Time Favorites”