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60 Classic Hymns: 60th Anniversary Tribute to Billy Graham

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Album Review

In their commercial heyday in the early '70s, the Mike Curb Congregation were known for movie themes like their Top 40 hit "Burning Bridges" (from Kelly's Heroes) and for accompanying the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett, among others. The crossover to gospel music is logical enough, and the two-CD set 60 Classic Hymns is what it says it is. The instrumental backup consists of synthesizer music provided by programmer/arrangers John d'Andrea and Keith Heffner, and the congregation sounds like more of a mixed chorus than a choir, say a dozen or so singers, with passages alternating between the male and female voices, plus some combined sections. The vocal interpretations are clear, well-enunciated, and neutral. These are not cheery singers like, for instance, the Mitch Miller troupe, but rather straightforward ones, like a group on The Lawrence Welk Show. This is traditional Christian religious music for people who like it unadorned and relatively unemotional, and who don't mind those cheesy synthesizers. (The "60th Anniversary" noted in the subtitle appears to refer to the founding of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950.)


Genre: Inspirational

Harmony pop chorale the Mike Curb Congregation was the brainchild of producer and music industry veteran Curb, a notoriously conservative figure who upon assuming the position of MGM Records president in 1969 promptly fired his entire A&R department and dropped all of the label's counterculture acts. In keeping with such mandates he assembled the Mike Curb Congregation, an otherwise anonymous studio aggregation in the mold of large-scale vocal groups like the Doodletown Pipers. Favoring saccharine...
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60 Classic Hymns: 60th Anniversary Tribute to Billy Graham, Mike Curb Congregation
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