The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“The Singing Ministry of Tom Frissell
While growing up and learning to adapt to his sightless world, music became the greatest solace of Tom’s life. Over the years it has been the bridge to many of his meaningful friendships.
Whether he sings at a wedding, a 50th anniversary – a hospital or a church, he always has the choice of songs that inspires his audience.
In hospitals, nursing homes and prison his joyous songs have brought comfort and hope. In one hospital a young victim of an auto wreck plead for Tom to sing again and again. His song is more than words and beautiful music. It is music from the heart that ministers with a divine touch.
Tom participates in civic gatherings and the community chorus as well as in churches. His solo work and participation is a vital part of the Madrigal Singers, who sing classical pieces ‘a capella’ and rely on him to start them on perfect pitch.
It was in the church where I am Pastor that Tom Frissell experienced God in a way that has transformed his life. Since that time his spirit-filled ministry in song is to me that always lifts me into the very presence of God.
Because of the deep spiritual quality of his music he is in constant demand in many area churches as a guest soloist. At times he is sorely missed in our own church.
Tom puts in a full week with overtime operating the concession stand at the courthouse. In view of this it is astounding how he is able to accomplish so much outside his job.
Knowing Tom has made my life so much richer. I confess that I always feel a burst of pride when I am introduced as his pastor.
After Tom’s most recent surgery, I went to minister to him; instead he ministered to me. That’s just the way Tom is! As you listen to his record he will also minister to you.
Walter Lauster, Pastor
A Sightless, Dedicated Christian
Blind virtually since birth, and survivor of a recent dire operation, Tom is a natural musician, with absolute pitch and a fine trained baritone voice.
As a blessing from his Lord and a tribute to modern surgery, Tom did note lose his voice from the operation as many friends feared and predicted. He sings gloriously today with a fitted, artificial palate!
Tom’s church, his ministry of song, and people are his greatest devotions.
Although basically a vocalist, Tom has ability with a number of musical instruments and is how here at his home organ playing for his mother.”
So, I know very little of this guy, was crate digging at the Salvation Army, and stumbled upon this.
So, the album opens with the track “Amazing Grace” – and whoa. Tom is definitely full blown baritone. Like, whoa. He’s deeper than like most guys I’ve heard. Then comes “Heaven Came Down” comes up next, and well, he’s not as baritone as I believed. Tom is good though, but this isn’t really my type of Gospel. Then it’s followed by “Down from His Glory” – and Tom does deliver his vocals pretty well. Tom definitely does sing with devotion. It’s still just not my type of Gospel. I prefer southern gospel, and this is like choir style. It’s then followed by the track “Each Step I Take” – and well, it’s still only okay. Like, don’t get me wrong, Tom is good – I just am not liking this style of Gospel. Then the A-Side ends with the track “How Great Thou Art” – and well, I like the song itself, I don’t like Tom’s version. Though, Tom can hit the high notes.
The B-Side opens with “No One Understands Like Jesus” – and it’s basically like every other song on this album, good song, good singing, good musicianship, but I’m not liking it. “His Eye is On the Sparrow” follows next, and well, I’ve never heard this song before – so, I’ll go out and say Tom delivers it pretty well, and it’s an enjoyable slow Gospel track. Then comes the song “Then Jesus Came” – I do enjoy the guitar playing on this track, it’s not bad at all! The vocals are still a little iffy for me. I’m sure though, Tom is a good guy. Then comes the song “Surely Goodness and Mercy” – and well, you know… I prefer Merrill Womach’s version. Anyways, the album ends with “The Battle Hymn of Republic” – which, just so happens to be a personal favorite of mine, and they have the military drums down pat. I’ll give Tom this one, it’s pretty good.
As for as google searches pull up, Tom died January 23, 1991.
A1 – Amazing Grace
A2 – Heaven Came Down
A3 – Down from His Glory
A4 – Each Step I Take
A5 – How Great Thou Art
B1 – No One Understands Like Jesus
B2 – His Eye is On the Sparrow
B3 – Then Jesus Came
B4 – Surely Goodness and Mercy
B5 – Battle Hymn of Republic
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Keyboards – Joe Pass
Bass – Jim Davis
Guitars – Doyle Dykes
Drums – Ken Cox
Engineer – Kent Holmes
Cover Art & Photography – Bob Frissell, Sr.
Recorded at Faith Production Studios, Cleveland, Tenn.
Other Albums I Own by Tom Frissell: