Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Gold City released their debut album FIRST DAY IN HEAVEN in 1981.  They went on to become known for such #1 songs as ‘I Think I’ll Read It Again’, ‘John Saw’, and ‘Midnight Cry’.  In 1989 they released GOIN’ HOME (RiverSong).  At the time, the group’s roster was: Brian Free (tenor), Ivan Parker (lead), Mike LeFevre (baritone), Tim Riley (bass), and Garry Jones (piano).

The album opens with ‘What a Glad Day’.  It has a ragtime/big band feel to it with good use of horns, and joyfully anticipates Heaven: “What a glad day when I started my stay in Heaven/In that bright land with the angel band/I’ll be singing redeemed/Then I will spend countless ages with Jesus, my Savior/In that lovely land where often I dreamed”.  Kirk Halbert wrote ‘Forgetfulness Sea’, a nice Southern Gospel ballad that uses strings.  It encourages us not to be trapped in regret, but to look forward in life: “You don’t have to look back to the things in your past/There is a door of forgiveness we can walk through at last/For Jesus died on the cross and created a sea/Where our sins and our failures are buried eternally/Thank God for forgetfulness sea/Through His grace I now stand here/Redeemed, whole, and free”.

‘Only one ship of Zion’ is a happy Southern Gospel toe-tapper: “As the angels are singing, bringing down the golden mast/The Captain of captains will put Zion to rest/When Jesus drops anchor there will be no encore/There’s only one ship of Zion, only one Heaven’s shore/Near the threshold of glory where the angels now dwell/The old ship of Zion’s lifting anchor to sail/When that ship crosses Jordan, it’ll sail never more/There’s only one ship of Zion/Only one Heaven’s shore”.  ‘So Close to Home’ is a ballad that values spiritual intimacy: “Call me foolish, call me strange/I just love to speak His Name/On bended knee, then suddenly I am not alone/When I speak ‘Jesus’/I feel the glory from the throne/And it makes me feel so close to home/I like to break the bread of life/His words are such a welcomed sight”.

Luther G. Presley wrote 1937’s ‘Gettin’ Ready to Leave this World’.  It features Terry McMIllan on harmonica and the talents of the Christ Church Choir here.  Gold City took this peppy Southern Gospel track right to #1.  It reminds us this earthly life is not all there is: “Laying up my treasure in that home above/Trusting, fully trusting in the Savior’s love/Doing what I can for Heaven’s Holy Dove/I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world/I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world of sorrow/I’m gettin’ ready for the gates of pearl/Keeping my record bright/Watching both day and night/I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world”.  Joe Fowler wrote ‘Look Around’.  Bass vocalist Tim Riley takes the lead on it.  It is another song about life in Heaven: “Well, I can’t wait to see my Lord/Over on the other side/I know that He’ll be standing there/With His arms stretched open wide/I’ll shout up and down the streets of glory/When my feet touch the holy ground/All you have to do to find me there is/Brother, look around”.

‘Love Went Deeper’ is an inspirational song that reflects on one of God’s most powerful and defining characteristics: “Love went deeper than the crown of thorns they placed upon His head/Love went deeper than the stripes He bore/When the blood ran crimson red/Love went deeper than the hole they dug/When they dropped that old cross in place/Love went deeper than the depths of hell/Deep enough to take my place”.  ‘That’s What I Am’ is the song of one confident of their true identity as God’s child: “I have been adopted by the Kingdom most high/Have all the things I’ll ever need in bountiful supply/And I’ll wear His finest garments/If I take upon His Name/He’s changed my life completely and I’ll never be the same/If I sound like a rich man, well, that’s what I am/If I speak with authority, there’s a reason that I can/My Father has all power/He’s placed it in my hands/If I seem like royalty/That’s what I am”.

‘Under Control’ is a calming ballad that places full trust in God’s faithfulness: “The Bible speaks of famines and trials/In the last days, how they’ll sweep through our land/But we have His assurance that through all these trials/We’ll be led by His mighty hand/Manna from God will come down from above/To restore and to nourish our souls/So, through all of your trials and all of your fears/Remember, God has it under control”.  Carroll McGruder wrote ‘I’m Going Home With Jesus’.  It ends the album on an upbeat note both lyrically and musically: “I’m going home with Jesus in the twinkling of an eye/I’ve made my reservation for a mansion in the sky/I may not know the moment or I may not know the day/But I know that I’ll be leaving when He calls His church away”.

GOIN’ HOME is good Southern Gospel fare that reminds Christians what God has done for them both in this life and in the next.  These ten songs should encourage those who are doubting or who are going through hardships and having trouble seeing the Light at the end of the tunnel.  Instruments played skillfully on this project, that also includes strong vocals, are: piano, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, drums, and percussion.  I’m recommending GOIN’ HOME to fans of Liberty Quartet and The Torchmen and giving it an 86% rating.  For more info visit: