On their official website The Chapelaires state that their main purpose “has been to introduce people to their Saviour, Jesus, and to encourage Christians who have become discouraged as they walk through storms and valleys in their lives”. The group’s most recent album is LEGACY OF FAITH (2015). In the liner notes they say the following of the album’s title: “We are so thankful that we were all blessed to have Christian parents who shared their faith with us. We thank God for the glorious legacy of faith we have in Christ. The songs that we have chosen speak directly to the Faith we live day by day”. David Jackson started the group back in 1968 as a male quartet. He sings bass. Sheila married him in 1974 and joined the group then. Myrna Hand joined in 2004. Over the years she has performed with the likes of The Singing Canadians and The Viscounts. Lastly, Phil Pugh was born in Richmond Hill, Ontario in 1977. His influences are Motown, R&B, Blues, Black Gospel, and Southern Gospel. LEGACY OF FAITH was recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced by Tim Schwindt at River Music Productions in London, Ontario. The graphic design was capably handled by Kathy Daw at Summit Sound, Inc.
Sanford F. Bennett and Joseph P. Webster’s well known ‘In the Sweet By and By’ is up first. Here, it has a breezy, easy listening feel to it and paints a picture of a happy ending for believers: “There’s a land that is fairer than day/And by faith we can see it a-far/For the Father waits over the way/To prepare us a dwelling place there/In the sweet by and by/We shall meet on that beautiful shore/In the sweet by and by/We shall meet on that beautiful shore”. ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name’ is a hymn of praise that appropriately has an all around majestic feel to it: “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name/Let angels prostrate fall/Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all (2X).../Let every kindred, every tribe on this terrestrial ball/To Him all majesty ascribe and crown Him Lord of all (2X)”.
William J. And Gloria Gaither wrote ‘I Do Believe’. It is a wonderful, gentle ballad of personal faith: “I do believe You are the One/The home I’ve longed to find/My only hope/God’s only Son/I do believe/I touch, I see/That all along/You’ve longed to be/My Lord, my God”. ‘He Keeps Me Singing’ is an upbeat country gospel testimonial: “Feasting on the riches of His grace/Resting ‘neath His shelt’ring/Always looking on His smiling face/That is why I shout and sing/Jesus, Jesus, Jesus/Sweetest Name I know/Fills my every longing/Keeps me singing as I go”.
‘The Risen Lamb’ is a pretty ballad that anticipates life in Heaven: “When I see the the risen Lamb I’ll be complete/When I meet the One who gave His life that day on Calvary/I’ll bow down and worship at the feet of the risen Lamb/I’m waiting for the moment when I hear that trumpet sound/When the Father says to Jesus ‘Go get My children now’/There’ll be no more sin or sorrow, no more burden, no more pain/In that day of His returning, I will look upon His face”. ‘The Blood Medley’ runs over seven minutes long and is a real treat performed with a celebratory country twang. One of the four songs included is ‘There is Power in the Blood’ written by Lewis E. Jones in 1899. These lyrics will make some skeptics scoff: “Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?/There’s power in the blood, power in the blood/Sins stains are lost in its life giving flow/There’s wonderful power in the blood/Would you do service for Jesus your King?/There’s power in the blood, power in the blood/Would you live daily His praises to sing?/There’s wonderful power in the blood”.
‘Tradin’ the Old Cross’ is a happy sounding Southern Gospel song of spiritual determination that makes good use of horns: “I started out with a made up mind to one day cross the finish line/I’m pressing toward the mark and for the prize/At times I’ve had to stand my ground and Satan’s tried to turn me around/But I will not be hindered by his lies/No, I’m not gonna walk away, I’ve got too much at stake/I’ve come too far to turn back now/Every battle that I have fought will soon be forgot/And I’m trading this ole cross in for a crown”. Jim Brady and Rodney Griffin wrote ‘He Can Move that Stone’ in 2009. Many a believer will relate to these thoughts: “Sometimes it seems God’s forgotten me/Does He really care?/Is He aware of my every need?/Then I recall His Word/He controls this earth/What He brings me to He’ll bring me through/That’s good enough for me”.
Gerald Crabb wrote ‘The Cross’. It is a moving, inspirational ballad that reflects on a pivotal historic event: “There was a cross made for the Son of God at Calvary/Two pieces of rough timber on a hill/Through His hands and through His feet/He took the nails for you and me/Angels watched as He died for the lost/Though He could have walked away, He chose the cross”. ‘Be Still My Soul’ is a solemn sounding song of spiritual self-talk: “Be Still my soul, the Lord is on thy side/Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain/Leave to thy God to order and provide/In every change, He faithful will remain/Be still my soul, thy best, thy heav’nly Friend/Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end”.
With LEGACY OF FAITH Ontario, Canada’s The Chapelaires have released a strong and memorable album of gospel music that should appeal to various age groups. The harmonies are tight, the vocal solos are spot on, and I really enjoy David Jackson’s bass parts. The instrumentation is beautiful. If you enjoy Southern Gospel music with straight forward, Christ-glorifying lyrics, this album is a must have! I’m rating LEGACY OF FAITH 95%. For more info and tour dates visit: www.chapelaires.com.
The Chapelaires’ bio states: “The message of their songs always focuses on the fact that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and through Him we can find Forgiveness, Hope, and Strength for whatever we face in this life”. In 2013 they released their sixteenth album WHAT HAVE I TO LOSE-45TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION. It was produced, mixed, and mastered by Tim Schwindt. All vocals are performed by Myrna Hand, Larry Steeves, Sheila Jackson, and David Jackson. The liner notes state: “We are now living in an age of compromise and confusion, but one thing is certain. The Truth of God’s Word will never change.”
The album begins with a song William J. and Gloria Gaither wrote in 1980. ‘Praise You’ is a mellow country ballad that converses with God: “Even before I came to be, Your loving eyes were looking at me/You’re even closer than the very breath that I take/Mother and father, more than a friend to me/Beginning and ending and living of life to me/The song I find myself singing when I awake/So, I will praise You/Lord, I praise You/Now, I praise You/For bearing me up and giving me wings/For lifting my sights to heavenly things/For being the song I can’t help but sing/Praise You”. ‘I’m the Lamb’ is a mellow country gospel song that speaks of our tendency to wander off spiritually: “So many times I strayed away from Jesus/As a lamb that leaves the flock without a care.../I’m the lamb that the Shepherd left the flock for/I was out in the cold all alone/So in need when Jesus found me/He put His arms around me/And I’ll never be alone anymore”. ‘Come Unto Me’ is a bouncy song of spiritual invitation: “Hear the blessed Savior calling the oppressed/’Oh, ye heavy-laden, come to Me and rest/Come, no longer tarry, I your load will bear/Bring Me every burden, bring Me every care/Come unto Me, I will give you rest/Take my yoke upon you, hear Me and be blest/I am meek and lowly, come and trust My might/Come, My yoke is easy, and My burden’s light”.
‘New Grace’ showcases David Jackson’s deep bass vocals. It also reflects on one of God’s most awesome attributes: “There’s been grace for ever trial/There’s been grace for every mile/There’s been grace sufficient from His vast supply/Grace to make my heart more tender/Grace to love and pray for sinners/But there’ll be new grace when it’s my time to die”. Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision wrote the dandy Southern Gospel ballad ‘What Have I To Lose’. It focuses on Jesus’ uniqueness: “Show me another love that’s greater/Show me another Calvary/Show me another worthy Savior/One who’s conquered death and holds the keys/You will go and search this world/You’ll never find one/There is only One who’s ever been/Omnipotent and equal to the Father/The holy God in flesh/The Great I Am”. ‘Celebrate Me Home’ is dedicated to Nellie Long and Aerona Steeves who’d recently went to Heaven. It has a lullaby feel to it and reflects on passing on to the next life: “I have spent most of my life on earth preparing to take the trip from here to Heaven’s door/With the shield and Word of God to guide me/It’s a comfort knowing I am not alone/So, when I take my final fleeting breath/And fade into the gentle sleep of death/Celebrate me home, celebrate me there/Celebrate me in that land of wonder where nothing can compare/Celebrate me in that place, celebrate me saved by grace/Don’t just sit and weep because I’m gone/Celebrate me home”.
Next up is Kathy Woodward’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’. It is a mid-tempo light rock number that recounts a New Testament event: “You should have seen that jailhouse rock when Paul and Silas started praising God/The prison doors flew open, that jailer got a shock/Those shackles could not stop them//They were singin’ from their hearts/When their praises rang to Heaven/You should have seen that jailhouse rock!” Joel Lindsey and Jeff Silvey wrote ‘Living in the Arms of Mercy’. It is a country gospel tune that has been recorded by The Hoppers. The topic of it is spiritual self-reflection: “I can’t imagine me without the peace and love You give/And I don’t wanna leave the place where I can freely live/Living in the arms of mercy/Totally dependent on the grace I don’t deserve/Living in the arms of mercy/Lord, I’m down to next to nothing/But I’m dying to be worth Your forgiveness/So I’m living in the arms of mercy”. Richard Ash penned ‘There’s No Place Like Home’. It is a lovely song about Heaven: “There’s no place like Home (2X)/Faces I know well, somehow I can tell this is where I belong/And death I’ll not fear for Jesus is here/No matter where I roam, my heart is at God’s throne/There’s no place like home, like home”.
‘Almost Morning’ is a soothing song of encouragement that uses the sound of chimes nicely: “You can’t seem to hide the hurt written on your face/You’re broken inside, longing for love’s embrace/It might be awhile before you smile/Well, I know cause I fought that fight/And weeping may endure for the night/But it’s almost morning/Joy will replace the tears/Calm all your darkest fears, it won’t be long till the dawn/Tomorrow’s another day/To live free of all your pain/So don’t give up on your faith/Cause it’s almost morning”. Gerald Crabb wrote ‘I Know’ which is an upbeat Southern Gospel song of celebration: “I know my sins are covered by the blood of the Righteous Lamb/I know that Heaven is waiting and the saints will soon move in/I’m not shaken cause I’m not stayin’ in this world of pain and sin/I know by the signs that are given/I know by what I’ve been readin’/I know/By every indication, Jesus is comin’ again”. ‘At Calvary’ is a beloved hymn that includes these words of testimony: “Mercy there was great and grace was free/Pardon there was multiplied to me/There my burdened soul found liberty/At Calvary”. A beautiful acoustic version of the title track follows.
Two Christmas bonus tracks end things off. ‘The Same Old Story’ is a slow country song that begins by recalling the Nativity: “A baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes/A little town called Bethlehem, you know how the story goes/Shepherds and the wisemen came to praise a newborn King/God’s gift 2000 years ago still makes His children sing/And it’s the same old story that never grows old/It’s still like the first time every time it’s told”. ‘He Would Be King’ was penned by Jim Larsen. It begins by centering in on Mary: “In a dark and musty stable, she held her newborn son/Exhausted from the labor, relieved He’d finally come/Could she have known all the joy He would bring?/Could she have known He would be King?”
WHAT HAVE I TO LOSE sounds reverent, peaceful, and calming. Emphasis is most definitely placed on country gospel ballads. The vocals and instrumentation are of excellent quality! A specifically evangelical Christian message clearly comes through as one listens. I recommend this album to older folks. It is solid, but I would have included more fast songs on it. I’m rating WHAT HAVE I TO LOSE 85%. For more info visit: www.chapelaires.com.