Childress Family - Dedicated
Theresa Childress-Lutz & Carla ChildressLabel:
The untimely loss of Shannon Childress caused many people across the gospel music world to grieve, but none so much as the Childress Family, as they lost a son, brother and uncle. In the midst of their grief came this latest recording aptly titled, Dedicated. Featuring mostly cover tunes and classic songs, many of these were songs that Shannon had been working with them on prior to his death. Out of the ashes of great sorrow, came beauty that can only be wrought by travailing. As the Childress Family has passed through this valley, with this latest release they have left behind a well whereby we all can drink from...so let us taste and see!
The recording starts off with the uptempo, “Glorious Tomorrow”, reminding us of the forthcoming day “when the glorious tomorrow is the glorious today”. Previously recorded by the Greenes, the Childress Family do a good job rendering their rendition before Jamey turns in an excellent performance on one of my all-time favorite songs, “He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away”. This song never ceases to minister to me in some way.
The tempo quickly picks back for the campmeeting feel of “Everlasting Joy” before the tempo slows back down as Teresa steps up to sing, “Calvary and Amazing Grace”. Penned by Geron Davis and previously recorded by the Ruppes, the family does a good job with their own rendition of the song.
They do an amazing job with their version of one of Shannon’s best known songs (and one of my personal favorites), “Anchor to the Power of the Cross” before matriarch, Marlene Childress steps up to give an emotional performance of the Dottie Rambo classic, “I Just Came to Talk to You Lord”.
Courtney is featured on the funk feel of the Pentecostal favorite, “Hallelujah Anyhow” before the family slows things back down for an excellent rendition of “How Deep the Father’s Love”. I know it seems everybody is picking up this old hymn lately and recording it, but I believe this speaks to the powerful message and great comfort that is found within its lyrics. Next to the Talleys, the Childress Family has the best interpretation I’ve heard of the song.
The tempo picks up as they pick up another song previous recorded by the Greenes, “Heaven in the House” before Carla turns in a masterful performance on, “I Bowed on my Knees and Cried Holy”. Because this song is so identifiable with Michael English, I am always concerned when I see someone else recording it. But the Childress Family did a great job making the song their own, adding their own twist with the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, and making it a true highlight of the recording.
The recording closes out with a songwriter’s demo of Shannon Childress singing one of his final compositions (co-written with Phyllis McGraw) before he passed away, “Only God Would Think of That”. Once again I am reminded of the tremendous talent as a musician, singer and songwriter embodied within Shannon. Throughout this recording we are reminded of that and more, as this was his final work in progress as he helped in the beginning stages of arranging and producing this recording when he passed away.
While just about all of these songs have previously been recorded by other artists, the Childress Family managed to put their own spin to them, allowing us to hear them in a fresh, new way. Not that any of these are totally re-arranged, but they are tweaked just enough to be a little different. I’ve only been able to hear limited amounts of the Childress Family’s music over time, but from what I’ve heard of their previous work, this is the best recording they have released. It’s an excellent piece of work and I know Shannon would have been very proud of his family!
(stars denote personal favorites)
1 – Glorious Tomorrow
2 – He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away**
3 – Everlasting Joy**
4 – Calvary and Amazing Grace
5 – Anchor to the Power of the Cross**
6 – I Just Came to Talk with You Lord
7 – Hallelujah Anyhow
8 – How Deep the Father’s Love**
9 – Heaven in the House**
10-I Bowed on my Knees and Cried Holy**
11-Only God Would Think of That