REVIEW: New Speer Family – A Singing Heritage

Producer:  Brian Speer
Label:  Independent Release

Back in 1921, Tom and Lena Speer (aka-Dad and Mom Speer), along with Pearl (Dad Speer’s sister) and Logan Claborn began a legacy and the Speer Family was born.  As the years progressed, Tom and Lena’s children (Brock, Ben, Rosa Nell and Mary Tom) came along and joined the group.  Eventually, it was Brock and Ben who continued the legacy after Dad and Mom Speer passed away in 1966 and 1967 respectively.  The Speers enjoyed immense success during the 1950s through the group’s official retirement in 1998.  Now 20 years later, all of the Speer children are now gone and Brock’s son Brian, along with Brian’s wife Allison are continuing the legacy and heritage that is distinctively “Speer”.  Brian and Allison are joined by Mike Allen and Ben Waites and collectively have created their own distinct sound while celebrating classic songs from the Speers rich singing heritage.

The recording starts off with the late Brock Speer introducing the Speers singing, “HEAVEN’S JUBILEE” and the piano kicks off as the classic Speers (Brock and Ben along with Mom and Dad Speer) sing the first verse and chorus.  With drums and guitars, we’re ushered to 2018 as Brian, Allison, Ben and Mike sing their own unique version of the classic Dad Speer tune.

The tempo changes to a nice pace with one of my favorite Speer classics, “SUNSET IS COMING” before the tempo gets kicked up for the enjoyable, “I FEEL IT IN MY SOUL”, featuring Brian.  Written by Ben Speer back in the 1950’s, it’s a highlight of the recording, as is their rendition of one of Mom Speer’s classic tunes, “I’M BUILDING A BRIDGE”.  Featuring a nice soulful arrangement, Ben does a superb job on this song.

The crowning jewel of the recording is my personal favorite Dad Speer tune, “HE IS MINE AND I AM HIS”.  Allison does a phenomenal job interpreting this great lyric and it serves as a great reminder of the great love of God!

The tempo picks up for the light and happy feel of, “THE OLD GOSPEL SHIP”.  Featuring Allison, they adapt the arrangement the Speers popularized many years ago and is a delightful inclusion.  Keeping things in “happy mode”, “MY HOME SWEET HOME” follows and is another wonderful classic you can’t help but smile your way through!

Via vintage recording, Mom and Dad sing the first verse and chorus of their classic duet, “WON’T WE BE SO HAPPY”, before Brian and Allison step up to sing the second half of the song together.  This too is another highlight of the recording.

One of Dad Speer’s lesser known tunes is the up-tempo, “THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS” and the group does a really good job with the song and it’s followed by another one of his classic tunes, “SWEETER EACH DAY”, which features Mike.

The majestic, “THE KING IS COMING” is next and the group does a great job reviving this Gaither classic the Speers popularized in the early 70s before the tempo gets kicked back up for another Dad Speer favorite, “I NEVER SHALL FORGET THE DAY”.

The recording closes out on a reflective note with a reprise of “HE IS MINE AND I AM HIS”; a befitting close to a recording honoring the wonderful heritage that began almost 100 years ago!

This is a very classy tribute to the Speer family heritage.  The arrangements aren’t carbon copies of the original, but the group stretched their creative juices and provided some really nice arrangements for these great songs.  Some arrangements I liked better than others, but for the most part the arrangements are very complimentary and enjoyable.  Another aspect I really enjoyed is that they went back and chose songs that may have been a bit more obscure instead of choosing just the best known songs from the Speers’ vast repertoire.  Overall, this is an excellent recording and highly enjoyable.  It’s very upbeat, with a few slower songs sprinkled in and makes for some nice listening in the car or around the house; definitely one of my personal favorites for 2018!

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

Heaven’s Jubilee
Sunset is Coming**
I Feel it in my Soul**
I’m Building a Bridge**
He is Mine and I am His**
The Old Gospel Ship**
My Home Sweet Home**
Won’t We Be so Happy**
The Hallelujah Chorus**
Sweeter Each Day
The King is Coming
I Never Shall Forget the Day
He is Mine and I am His (Reprise)


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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.