A few months ago, Lisa and I went a church yard sale and found dozens of old tapes and CDs for a $0.25 each. Most of them were not southern gospel, but we found a dozen or so that we wanted. One of those was a sealed CD of an old Anchormen project titled Heart Of The Matter (1989, Morning Star Records, MSCD-4105). The lineup on the CD includes Terry Carter (baritone), Jody Medford (bass), Biney English (lead), Bill Bass(?), Steve Wood (?), and David Walker (tenor). I had never heard the Anchormen of this era, so I didn’t know what to expect from this project. What I got was one of the best projects that I bought this year (and the best deal of the year, I got it for a quarter!).
- It’s A Wonderful Day (Biney English, Chestnut Mound Music/BMI) - The project starts off with the best song on the CD. I love this song and would love to find the soundtrack to it. This was my first exposure to bass singer Jody Medford and I was very impressed. He really shines on several songs on this project. Where is he now? Anyway, Jody is featured on the chorus and Biney sings part of the second verse solo before the other vocalists join him on the last couple of lines. Additional vocals on this song are Mike English, Mike Eldred, and Jason Beddoe. Dean Adkins recently posted a video to You Tube of the Anchormen singing this song. The link is courtesy of David Bruce Murray (aka MusicScribe).
- I’m Willing Lord (Joe Hatfield, Journey Music, BMI) - Tenor David Walker is featured on the second track. This was also my first time hearing David Walker. His voice has a strong resemblance to Danny Funderburk. Actually, this song reminds me of “Whosoever Will”. It is a soft, tender, beautiful song.
- Let’s Go In (Gerald Crabb, Pleasant View Music, ASCAP) - Here is a very early song from Gerald Crabb (The only song from Crabb recorded before this one that I know of is “Still Small Voice”, recorded by Gold City in 1988). Terry Carter is featured on the second verse of this track before David Walker takes the lead on the chorus. Medford has nice line (“But we’ve already won the fight”) in the choruses once Walker takes the lead. This isn’t a great song, but it is very fun, and I really enjoy it.
- In The Palm Of His Hands (Savana Foust, Chestnut Mound Music, BMI) - The next song comes from Savana Foust, writer of one of my favorite songs, “Somebody Touched Me,” so I always perk up when I see her name in the credits. This song is almost a solo for Biney English (Michael gets all the fame, but Biney can sing too). This slow song starts with hook line (“He looked through the ages and saw my sin, and He carved me in the palm of His hand”), before Biney sings the verses. The song has one chorus, which also heavily features Biney. Biney sounds great on this song, but it is too much of a solo song to be one of my favorites.
- Just As Sure As The Son Shines (Steve Wood, Chestnut Mound Music, BMI) – I love the kick off before Walker starts singing the verse. Again, Walker reminds me so much of Danny Funderburk. The one knock on this song is that it sounds like Walker goes out of his range (or at least where his voice sounds good) going into the final chorus.
- Go Down (Charles Cravey, Chestnut Mound Music, BMI) - This song is another highlight for me and it shows off Medford again. The chorus is repetitious, but can’t that be said for a lot of bass features?
- Heart Of The Matter (Steve Wood, Chestnut Mound Music, BMI) - This is Biney’s best feature on the project. It is a ballad that starts soft, builds slowly, and ends big, followed by a soft instrumental ending.
- Glory Train (Biney English, Chestnut Mound Music, BMI) - A train song! Everybody loves a train song! OK, maybe not, but this is a really fun song. Medford is again featured on the first verse. I like the way they ended the song. They did a false ending, followed by Medford, then Walker coming in with the line, “Come on and ride this train.” Finally, Biney starts the last line, followed by the others, then Medord hits the bottom on “gloryland.”
I love this CD. Outside of the opening number, it may not have any GREAT songs, but every song is really good and/or enjoyable. The real highlight of the CD to me is bass singer Jody Medford. I really enjoyed his contribution to this project. He is stands out on several songs, sometimes only for a line or two, but he is a major reason I enjoyed this CD so much.
The Anchormen have always had a revolving door with group members, but several times through their history, they have put together outstanding lineups. I would have to think this is one of their best (along side their lineup with Steve Ladd, Phillip Hughes, and Jeff Chapman/Aaron McCune).
If you have this project, pull it out and listen to it again. If not, head to ebay and buy this tape now. It is only $2.49, plus $3.00 shipping. I think anyone who enjoys southern gospel quartets will love it.