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REVIEW: Les Butler & Friends – I Like Southern Gospel Style the Best

Producer: Les Butler
Record Label: Family Music Group
Website: www.familymusicgroup.com

The title of this project says it all.   Singer, producer, pianist Les Butler of the Old Time Preacher’s Quartet brings us a unique project appropriately titled, “I Like Southern Gospel Style the Best”.  It is a collection of 12 songs penned by some of the biggest songwriters in Southern Gospel music.  Each song is like listening to the traditional style that made Southern Gospel, one of the most popular and revered music of our time.

It starts out with the title song from the pen of Larry Petree and featuring Mark McCauley.  It is a unique, peppy, hand-clapping song that includes intros from some of the old concerts with some of the greats of the genre.  Listen and try to identify the musicians on this song.  The song prepares you for the pleasure you will have listening to the remainder of the project.   It gives all the reasons why this music is great for the soul and great for lives.

Les has included songs that deal with some of the most common themes of Southern Gospel music- heaven, our Christian walk and our church.  “Not For Long” is a great song written by Rebecca Peck, one of today’s best songwriters and reminds us that we can be sad for now but soon we will go to meet our Savior.  “We’re Out of Here” features the great voice of Ronny Hinson and lets us know that it will sudden and is the great promise for Christians and finally “When I Close My Eyes” brings all the excitement of what that day will be like and the rest of that line of the chorus is “… and open them at Jesus’s feet.”  Such a great day that will be.

Southern Gospel music is filled with songs about our Christian walk.  There are several songs included in this project that speak to us as Christians.  Jeff and Sheri Easter join Les on the song, “He Is Greater Than My Need” which reminds us that no matter what may be happening in our lives, that we can give it to God because nothing is impossible with him.  “I Am So Blessed” is the Matthew Browder penned song that can be our testimony.    No matter what we have been through, whether it is a physical problem or a personal burden that seems  so heavy.  We can raise our head and shout, I am  Blessed.  

No project about Southern Gospel would be complete without a good, old-fashioned quartet song.  The Primitive Quartet stops by sing the fast-paced quartet song, “Glory, Hallelujah Fill My Soul”.  The piano, on this song, is classic and outstanding as the Primitives knock this great song out of the water.  It makes you want to shout like you are in a tent revival. 

Church is such a vital part of Southern Gospel.  In the song, “I Want A Church That’s Alive”, Les gives us a list of what Christians want it today’s church.  He gives a litany of the good and the bad in today’s church.  One of the things that mentions that is looks for in a church is preaching the word and the song, “My Bible”, speaks more about it.  One line goes, ….God’s word is the anchor.  It’s a powerful song with a great message for Christians.  As he sings in another place in the song, … the pages are gone or worn, but he wouldn’t trade it. 

The project takes on a powerful and timely message about today.   “The Deal” reminds me of the old Charlie Daniels song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia in the style it is sung. The subject matter of this is way different.  It is about our world today and is a warning to Christians to not water down their faith and lists all of the things the Satan will give you in this world and each of them is a deal where Satan would win and we would lose heaven.  It is a song you have to listen to the words because it is such a strong warning for us.

Finally, Les has included a song about someone we never sing about but is so important and sadly, in a lot of places, neglected –  our preacher- our pastor.  “That’s My Preacher” was the first single released and was done so during Pastor Appreciation Month to honor them.  I loved the words in this song because it was so uplifting.  A couple of lines really spoke to me about these men of God who have been called to serve God and how we, as the church, don’t realize what that means.  Stephen Phillips wrote some powerful words in this song.  “your burdens weigh heavy on his mind” and “He never has to punch a time clock” and “he’s on call 24/7, 365”.  Think about your preacher and what he does.  We should appreciate him more than one month a year. 

The final song is a reprise of “That’s My Preacher” but it is Les talking about his preacher father and others who have made a strong impression on his life.  He includes live excerpts of their sermons and ends the project with a short evangelical message.  A great way to end a special project.

If you love the old Southern Gospel songs then this project is for you.  I really enjoyed listening to this album and highly recommend it.   

TRACK LISTING:

I Like Southern Gospel Style the Best (featuring Mark McCauley)
That’s My Preacher
I Want a Church That’s Alive
We’re Out of Here (featuring Ronny Hinson)
My Bible
When I Close My Eyes
He Is Greater Than My Need (featuring Jeff & Sheri Easter)
Glory Hallelujahs Fill My Soul
Not For Long
I Am So Blessed (featuring Primitive Quartet)
The Deal
That’s My Preacher (Special Mix)

READER RATING:

Dave Angle
Staff Writer/Reviewer