Amazing Grace (Remastered)
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||Amazing Grace||B.J. Thomas||3:33||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||His Eye Is On the Sparrow||B.J. Thomas||3:42||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||The Unclouded Day||B.J. Thomas||2:57||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||In the Garden||B.J. Thomas||3:06||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||You'll Never Walk Alone||B.J. Thomas||3:06||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||The Old Rugged Cross||B.J. Thomas||3:05||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Just a Closer Walk With Thee||B.J. Thomas||3:34||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||I Believe||B.J. Thomas||2:32||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Just As I Am||B.J. Thomas||3:15||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Beyond the Sunset||B.J. Thomas||3:07||$0.99||View In iTunes|
Oh, they tell me...
I am typically NOT a fan of hymns albums: not because I have anything against hymns--quite the contrary. It's just that when an artist is really popular they don't do them. The fans want to hear fresh material, and a hymns CD is just like buying time for you to come up with something better. Usually the quality the artist demonstrates in their original works gets left out of the hymns offerings. And to be honest, it's usually after an artist is no longer popular enough for the label to support new material that they order up a hymns album (hint: public domain songs like hymns and Christmas carols are free to use.)
Not so, here.
In 1981, B.J. Thomas was still selling records, and with this album, I've gotta say you don't feel like you are listening to a hymnal on Sunday. These songs are performed with the same savvy that B.J. Thomas put into everything else you already know him for. If anything I'd say it shows off his lower range better than most of his work.
As a kid listening to these on tape in the car, I never knew most of them were hymns--we sure didn't sing 'em like that at our church. It wasn't until years later that I learned that these aren't originals...just signature. I'm not saying they're rockin' (which most hymn-lovers feel is just a horrible treatment of a hymn.) They're recognizable, but B.J. Thomas just makes them his own. He performs them rather than recite them. I guess that's the difference we're not used to hearing in church.
The best example of this is "The Unclouded Day." To me it has always been the gem of the album, but an imperfect one. I have never been able to tolerate hearing this one droned in church, since having heard B.J. show how it CAN be done!!! (Oh well, I'll put my disappointment on "repeat.")
Having been accustomed to B.J.'s previous albums, "Happy Man" and "You Gave Me Love" (see my other reviews) my only shred of discontent with this one is that it seems to have slowed WAY down in tempo. Maybe that's appropriate, considering the source material, but it's just harder to sit still for the whole thing. (And easier to pick favorites!)
To me, some of these tracks are the best recorded versions of these hymns. B.J.'s handling of "His Eye Is On the Sparrow," the aforementioned "Unclouded Day," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "The Old Rugged Cross" and "I Believe" stand head and shoulders above anybody else's. (Easily done.) My Dad loves tracks 4 & 6 as well. The only snoozer on the album is track 10, and track 7 sounds seriously dated. As for the rest, to me it's just a matter of how many of the slower songs you want to listen to when you pop the album in to hear tracks 2 & 3!
All in all, I recommend this album highly, but this is the last of B.J.'s "sparrows" that the Christian music market really had it's eye on. (But thanks again to WORD for remastering it for 2010!)
Classic beyond classics
Been listening to this CD since it's conception in 1981. It doesn't get any better than BJ Thomas singing these hymns.
Nothing like the good old hymns from yesteryear rendered by a great artist. These hymns writers were geniuses, men of God.
Born: August 7, 1942 in Hugo, OK
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s