Hidden Gems: Cathedrals – “Evergreen”

While the Cathedrals remain one of SG’s most popular and enduring groups, even now some 14 years after their retirement, there remains a lot of the group’s catalog that is fairly undiscovered by most fans of this music, especially in the pre-Danny Funderburk years.  This song comes from their 1981 album Colors Of His Love featuring Kirk Talley, Glen Payne, Mark Trammell, George Younce, and Roger Bennett.

This mellow sounding ballad starts with some swirling strings that put the listener in mind of wind whirling through the evergreen trees to which the title of the song refers.  It’s an interesting lyric that refers to evergreen trees standing through the storms that come up and blow.  The chorus is a prayer for God to make the believer as strong as the evergreen that stands in the forest.  It’s a very well crafted lyric that is accecntuated with some beautiful singing from Kirk Talley and some gorgeous harmonies from the quartet.  Adding to the creativity is the fact that Talley sings his step out lines on the second chorus an octave higher than on the previous chorus, swooping up from the quartet harmonies to the higher melody.  The tag includes the swirling strings, though a bit more subdued than the intro, but features a swirling round vocal tag that features the Cathedrals first, with the repeat done by female studio vocalists, again hearkening the listener to winds whipping through a forest of evergreen trees in winter.

There’s not a whole lot of flash here, but it’s a gorgeous, very well crafted song.  Someone needs to bring this one back.  If you have the album (or like me, the LP AND the 8-track!), spin it up and give it another listen!

YouTube Clip #30 – Cathedral Quartet with Talley & Trammell

Since last week was the 10th anniversary of Glen Payne’s passing, here’s a nice clip of the Cathedrals during the Talley/Trammell years in tribute to Glen’s memory.  This is a great clip that really captures the essence of the Cathedrals of that era.

Saved, Saved!: Why Mix And Good Headphones Matter

One of my all time favorite albums is the one pictured to the right, Voices In Praise/Acappella from the Cathedrals.  This LP and Gold City’s Acappella Gold set the standard for SG acappella albums.  The arrangements from Lari Goss and performed by Talley, Payne, Trammell, Younce, and Bennett(?) are impeccable.  With what I thought was one exception: the track “Saved, Saved!” referenced in the title of this blog post.  On the tag to this song, they build the intensity on the 5 chord, loud and high, but then I always thought they dropped the inversion of the resolving I chord back down, which made the song seem to lose all of the power and intensity it had just built.  Notice I said “seemed”.  I just ripped this album to CD the other night and cleaned it up.  (I had ripped it previously, but hadn’t figured out yet how to clean it up and do some simple mastering.)  I have a pretty decent set of headphones that came with my 128MB RCA mp3 player I got several years ago.  I was listening to this song something made me pay close attention to the tag.  Buried way down in the mix, on the last chord, Kirk Talley does not drop down as I had previously thought, but actually jumps up to the higher octave to hit the root of the chord and the other voices are stacked below him.  The other voices are so loud, I’d never actually heard Kirk’s top note before.  The arrangement now makes more sense, but it took a good set of headphones to hear what was previously hidden in the mix.  I have never heard the note on my car stereo, and had to hold the headphones against my ears to make sure I was hearing it this morning.  Someone needs to go remix this album and bring Kirk’s note to the forefront on the tag of this song.  The mix on a project and a good set of headphones can often times totally change your listening experience!

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