Like many country artists, especially those who had at least some element of bluegrass in their roots, the Wilburn Brothers
made gospel songs part of their repertoire. This 14-song collection draws in nearly equal measures from two albums of such material they recorded for Decca, 1960's Livin' in God's Country
and 1964's Take Up Thy Cross
. In the fashion of numerous spiritual albums by artists more famous for their secular recordings, these tracks can be viewed as something of an interesting sidelight to their main body of work that will have appeal for serious fans and those with a special passion for gospel, though it won't be what the duo are most remembered for. Since the Wilburns
were among the finest harmonizing country duos, and since the instrumental arrangements stick close to the hillbilly/honky tonk with which they established themselves, it still has appeal for fans without a particular gospel bent. There are some female backing vocals, as well as an organ on "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," but the adornments to their '50s sound are minimal. The singing remains first-rate, and the performances are dignified, though the packaging on this compilation is extremely basic.