REVIEW: Collingsworth Family – Mercy & Love

Producer: Wayne Haun and David Clydesdale
Record Label: StowTown Records

The Collingsworth Family has been delighting fans for approximately 18 years with first class music.  Known for massive orchestral arrangements filled with dramatic overtones, they’ve provided some pretty spectacular moments over the years such as “The Blood of Jesus”, “At Calvary”, “Fear Not Tomorrow”, “I Know” and many others.  This latest release will no doubt please fans of the Collingsworth Family, as they stick with the formula that has worked for them and made them one of the finest family groups to grace the Southern Gospel stage.

The recording starts off with a cover tune straight out of the mid-1980s by the Talleys, “IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY”, and it is a delightful opening tune for the family.  The mood quickly moves to the more somber, dramatic feel of the Dottie Rambo classic, “FOR WHAT EARTHLY REASON”, which features a fantastic performance and I was thrilled to see this great song revived.

The tempo picks back up for the medium tempo, “GOD STILL DELIVERS” before slowing back down for the worshipful Kirk Talley penned anthem, “MAGNIFY HIM”.  Previously recorded by the Talleys over 30 years ago, it was great hearing this wonderful song brought back.

The tempo picks back up for the Country/Cajun feel of the title song, “MERCY AND LOVE” and is a highlight of the recording.  The tempo then slows back down for “ALTAR OF GRACE” and the dramatic, “THE LAMB”.

Two of my favorite writers, Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck penned the up-tempo song, “LIVE LIKE JESUS”.  It’s a fun tune that will linger with you long after music stops.  By contrast, “YOUR WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN MINE” slows things way down, but the lyric alone makes the song just as memorable.  Penned by Rachel McCutcheon, the song is the triumph of the recording!

The tempo picks back up for “AWESOME POWER OF PRAYER”, which sounds like something that would have easily found a place on a Talley’s album during the mid-late 1980s or early 1990s.

“BRING IT BROKEN” and “DO YOU KNOW THE SAVIOR” brings the tempo back down with messages of love, mercy and grace.

It was great hearing one of Gordon Jensen’s song “CASTING OUR CROWNS AT HIS FEET” revived and incorporated with the Gaither classic, “WORTHY THE LAMB”.  Clocking in at over 7 minutes, it’s a lot of take in, but in all its grandeur and magnificence, it’s worth a listen and is a highlight of the recording.

The recording closes out with another Dottie Rambo classic, “WE SHALL BEHOLD HIM” coupled with another Gaither classic, “THE KING IS COMING”.  Featuring Kim Collingsworth on the piano, with the family coming in on the final verse and carrying out the song until the end, you can’t help but become enthralled with the song and it’s a grand arrangement!

The big drawing cards for me with this family is the massive arrangements and dramatic flair they have with their music and their ability to almost flawlessly execute those arrangements.  Plus they have a knack for picking great songs as well as reviving great cover tunes, classics and hymns!  They do not fail to deliver all of the above on this latest release and there truly is a lot to love and enjoy, but I do wish they would have incorporated a couple more up-tempo songs.  With 10 songs being more medium to slow tempo, it really does tend to drag in spots, especially the further you go into the recording.  My fear is some really great songs may get missed or overlooked due to the fact there are so many slow songs and they tend to sound very similar.  As I stated at the beginning, they have a formula that works for them and their fans love it.  But I think sometimes there may need to be some tweaking and incorporate some new things to keep it fresh and interesting.  But make no mistake, this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Collingsworth Family…a first class recording filled with great songs that speak to the heart and soul and with breathtaking arrangements that definitely leave you breathless.


Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

It Runs in the Family**
For What Earthly Reason**
God Still Delivers**
Magnify Him**
Mercy and Love**
Altar of Grace
The Lamb
Live Like Jesus**
Your Ways are Higher than Mine**
Awesome Power of Prayer
Bring it Broken
Do You Know the Savior
Casting Our Crowns at His Feet/Worthy the Lamb**
We Shall Behold Him/The King is Coming


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[Total: 6 Average: 3.7]
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James Hales
Head Reviewer at Absolutely Gospel
James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.