Forgotten Albums: Statesmen – O’ My Lord What A Time

One of the big stories of 1992 in the SG world was the reformation of the Statesmen with Johnny Cook, Biney English, Jake Hess, Bob Caldwell, and Hovie Lister.  The story of the genesis of the revival of the group was well publicized as coming out of the Homecoming video by Gaither.  There was a huge buildup to the release of the new group’s debut CD, Revival.

This album was released the next year, in 1993, to much less buildup.  In fact, Cook and English may have even departed in the time between the recording and release of the CD.  That being said, this is still a pretty enjoyable disc.  The CD starts with the best version of the Nancy Harmon classic “Blood Bought Church” I’ve heard, and follows it up with a strong version of “What A Lovely Name” featuring Cook reliving his Goodman days.  There is an early versions of a song that would become more popular in subsequent years, namely “Forgiven Again” (EHSS).  Biney English is featured on the Statesmen cut, and while still a ballad, it’s quite different from the more widely known EHSS version.  The title track is a nice balance between the very stripped down version released by Perfect Heart on their Command Performance album around the same time, and the uber-slick version recorded by the Gaither Vocal Band a few years later.  Cook does well with it, and though his voice shows his age, it’s nice to hear Hovie singing on it as well.

“Just A Little While” and Hess’ standard “Faith Unlocks The Door” are found in more than credible versions, with Caldwell turning a very nice performance on the former, and the disc ends with a very pretty acoustic ballad called “More Of You.”  This later album sees Jake Hess serving less as the group’s billed lead singer, and fitting much more comfortably into a baritone role with the higher ranges of English and Cook above him.  Overall, this was a much more versatile sound for the group that played better to their respective strengths.  Cook still had the chops to tackle a few nice tenor notes with English stacked right underneath him.  If you have a copy of this album, pull it back out.  If not, see if you can find a copy somewhere.  It’s an intriguing piece of history as it is Jake Hess’s last recording as a member of the Statesmen.  Above all else, it’s just a good solid CD!

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About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

18 Responses to Forgotten Albums: Statesmen – O’ My Lord What A Time

  1. John Crenshaw says:

    Wes, this is a nice project although it’s hard to find.

    I think Jake made one more recording with the Statesmen after this one. They recorded “Oh What a Savior” with the same personnel as on this recording. Both were released in 1992, but “OWAS” had a later catalogue number. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were recorded at the same time because the sound is so similar.

    • burkesbrainwork says:

      They do sound very similar. I was going under the assumption that OWAS was a table project that fell between the two major label releases on Canaan. That’s probably not correct, as the numbers seem to indicate. OWAS is even harder to find than this one!

      • John Crenshaw says:

        Was your copy of “Oh My Lord” released on Canaan? Mine was released on the same label as “OWAS”. Both were on Gaither/Spring House.

      • burkesbrainwork says:

        I’m pretty sure it is Canaan, but I’ll double check when I get home. I’ve been wrong before, just ask my wife! 🙂

      • burkesbrainwork says:

        John, here’s a link to the back of the CD available on Amazon. It’s a Canaan release as well.

  2. quartet-man says:

    I love “Forgiven Again” on here. I have said before with all due respect to Doug Anderson who is a great talent, but this version is so much better. Biney owns the song. O What A Savior to me at least is more rare than this one. I have at least one extra copy of this one in storage. I can’t recall the label, but I want to say Canaan.

  3. John Crenshaw says:

    I think the recording on Canaan was a reissue. I know it was also reissued rather recently with just a picture of Hovie on the front cover.

    • burkesbrainwork says:

      I guess it could be, but the copyright date on it is 1993 and I remember getting it very shortly after it came out. It’s hard to see in the picture, but my front cover is identical to the one I put in the post and my back cover is the same as the image in the comment above. Produced and Copyright 1993 Word, Inc. My copy of Revival is P&C 1992 on Canaan/Word. Is yours?

    • burkesbrainwork says:

      Also, if you notice, the microphone on the front cover has a script “C” on it that matches the script C in the Canaan logo. Just noticed that! 🙂

  4. John Crenshaw says:

    Confirmed copyright date on the Spring Hill release is 1992. Also confirmed Caanan/Word release is the reissue. Cover art is similar but not identical to the picture posted above.

  5. Brent J. says:

    Thanks for reviewing this CD. I thought it was the best out of the three this particular version of the Statesmen did. Very underrated CD in my opinion. Question….. was OWAS in between Revival and OMLWAT or was OWAS the third? I always thought OWAS was the third.

    • burkesbrainwork says:

      I always thought OWAS was in between Revival and this CD. However, I thought this was also an original mainline release on Canaan, which has proven to be incorrect. John C’s info above seems to indicate that OWAS was indeed recorded after this one, though it’s also possible they were recorded at basically the same time.

  6. Mike says:

    quartet-man:
    I would be interested in purchasing your extra copy of “O What A Savior”. Please email me at michaelnkarie@yahoo.com. Thanks.

  7. Bob Caldwell says:

    Thank you very much for the nice compliments about the Statesmen projects. It was a real privilege to travel with Jake and Hovie, if only for a couple of years. Revival was our first, and only, mainline project. For the next two projects Gaither just sat down one day and began to write down songs, Statesmen classics and others, he thought we should record. After picking out 20 something songs, studio musicians were brought in and all the tracks were cut over a couple of days. We then began recording vocals a few days here, and a few days there, until we had them all cut. The songs were divided to make two projects. We considered them table projects. I can’t recall which one, if either, was officially released first.

    • Wes Burke says:

      Thanks for reading and for the comment Bob! That is pretty interesting stuff. At least here in West TN, the Oh What A Savior CD was incredibly hard to find, while O’ My Lord What A Time was fairly common. I don’t know if that held true in other places. I’ve long thought that the lineup with you, Johnny Cook, and Biney English had a tremendous sound, I wish you’d been able to do another mainline release like Revival.

  8. Mike says:

    If anyone has a copy of ” What A Savior” for sale please let me know. mwd101@hotmail.com

  9. Bob Caldwell says:

    Thanks Wes. Johnny, Biney, and Jake were all talented singers and I think we could have made some great music if we could have stayed together. It takes a little time learn each other and develope a good vocal blend but we literally met each other in the studio for the Revival project. I remember going to Suite 16 in Nashville and doing a tv spot in the afternoon for Crook and Chase, then to a photo shoot, then back to the studio to start recording. I knew Biney somewhat from a few times we sang on the same program when I was with the Kingdom Heirs and he was with the Anchormen but I met the others, Jake, Hovie, and Johnny that day. Short lived but great memories.

  10. Roger says:

    Johnny cook didn’t leave until after August of 93, because he was with the Statesmen in St. Louis at the Kingsland theater. That night I bought revival, what a time, and the 5 cassettes of the Statesmen from the 50’s. I also had Johnny sign a copy of his “He’s the real thing” album that he never approved the release of the jacket. It was after that when because when he left I think Tank Tackett was the tenor at 93 NQC which I feel was a lousy replacement. To answer burkesbrainwork from 2007 why doesn’t Johnny get the recognition like Shaw, Rozell? Let me first say I own just about every album Johnny was ever on, and to me the first Johnny Cook Trio album had one of the finest male trio’s you will ever hear. My 2 answers to your question is 1. Howard Goodman couldn’t stand Johnny (howard tolld me himself)it was always Rusty that brought Johnny back which leads into #2. As much as I love Johnny he didn’t stay anywhere or with anything to long.

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