June 21, 2011
Varèse Sarabande
Country, Gospel

Album Review

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.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
  2. Angel Band
  3. Shall We Gather at the River (Beautiful River)
  4. Take Up Thy Cross
  5. Bringing in the Sheaves
  6. Let the Lower Lights Be Burning
  7. Wreck on the Highway
  8. I Feel Like Traveling On
  9. I've Got That Old Time Religion in My Heart
  10. Throw Out the Life Line
  11. Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet
  12. Medals for Mothers
  13. Steal Away
  14. Go on Home Unsaved
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