Friday, May 13, 2011


     In the liner notes for CLASSIC TORCHMEN SONGS FEATURING JOSH FRIEND (2010) the group writes: "We hope you enjoy these 'Classic Gospel Songs' recorded in the classic way (you are hearing it just the way we sang it) at Grant Ave Studios in Hamilton.  We recorded there in 1976 and we tried to re-create that sound in 'Classic Torchmen Songs.'"  The Torchmen are, on this project, Sandy MacGregor (tenor), David Randall (lead), Mike Moran (baritone), and Josh Friend (bass).
     The album begins with 'There's a Testimony', which is a song with a bouncy chorus about someone eager to share their faith experience: "There's a testimony in the house today/There's somebody ready to stand and give Him praise/A voice that is willing to be a witness of His grace'There's a testimony in the house today."  'Zion's Hill' features nice piano playing and is about a believer going to their heavenly reward: "There waits for me a glad tomorrow/Where gates of pearl swing open wide/And when I've cast this veil of sorrow/I'll dwell upon the other side."  'Led out of Bondage' is a fast, drum driven track about how God, using Moses, freed the Israelites from the Egyptians.  It will appeal to fans of Nations' hits such as "Get thee Behind me Satan" and "Noah found Grace".  'I'll live in Glory' is celebratory and has as its' focus the rapture: "This might be the very day when the Lord will take us away/When the shouts from Heaven and the trumpet sound/All the dead in Christ will rise and we'll meet 'em in the skies/Oh what joy is now a'waiting/Heaven on high."  'No One but Jesus Knows' is a ballad with a doo-wop feel to it and speaks of an intimate relationship with Jesus as Healer: "All discouraged, so sad and blue/I go to Jesus/He'll see me through/How He thrills my broken spirit/No one but Jesus knows."
     'Payday' has a Southern Gospel feel to it and reminds us how we should live our lives as we await the Lord's return: "Payday is comin'/Comin' in the by and by/Do not weary in well doing/Your redemption draweth nigh/He who holds the keys to heaven/May return at night or noon/Keep on workin' for the Master/Payday's comin' soon." 'Under Control' is a ballad of comfort: "The Bible speaks of famines and trials/In the last day how they'll sweep through our land/But we have His assurance that through all of these trials/We'll be lead by His mighty hand."  'Getting ready to Leave this World' was penned by Luther G. Pressley in 1937.  It looks forward to the next life with anticipation, while stressing the importance of living right in the here and now: "I'm gettin' ready to leave this world/I'm getting ready for the gates of pearl/Keeping my record right/Watching both day and night/I'm getting ready to leave this world."
     'I Can Tell you the Time' is smooth flowing, features nice harmonica, and talks of the mystery of salvation: "I can tell you now the time/I can take you to the place/Where the Lord saved me/By His wonderful grace/But I can not tell you how for I know not the how/And I can not tell you why/And I know not the why/But He'll tell me all about it/He will tell me all about it/In the by and by."  The hymn 'I'd rather have Jesus', written by Luther G. Pressley in 1935 is given a traditional treatment and speaks of having a stronger desire for Jesus than for power, prestige, or possessions.
     CLASSIC TORCHMEN SONGS FEATURING JOSH FRIEND does a good job featuring the talented bass singer, while allowing the other three parts to flourish as well.  This is a good album to help you set your sights on heaven.  My only beef is that it's a bit on the short side, clocking in at 29 minutes and 4 seconds.  I'm giving it an 80%.  For more info visit: Thanks to Mike and the rest of the Torchmen.