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. for Country Music News International

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