Could have been much better,
This review is from: Everything Good (Audio CD)Gaither's "I DO BELIEVE" has to be the perfect example of what Gaither singing is all about. Not only does it contain magnificent singing, original song selection, and excellent instrumentation, but also fine Mastering and Mixing work in the studio. As a studio masterer/mixer for 21 years, I can dissect music carefully from this point of view. Having said that, this current offering from GVB falls considerably short. I feel Russ Taff has a fine, soulful voice that lends well for solo parts (such as the opening of "I pledge My Allegiance"). However, I am still evaluating how he fits in the mix of harmonies.
The bass guitar in some of these songs is mixed/mastered at much too high volume levels. Also, the volume (loudness) of the music in some of these songs is excessively high in comparison to the vocals. This disrupts from the singing and makes you wonder whether this should have been an instrumental album. This is most apparent on "I Pledge my Allegiance" (especially during and after David Phelps verse), "Forgive Me", and "It is Finished."
Another mastering/mixing miscue is that the microphone levels for the singers are not consistent (for example, in "I pledge my Allegiance," when David Phelps begins his solo, its almost as if he's talking on a phone connection. There is no presence or thickness and the voice sounds like background singing (both in volume and layering). If you try to increase the bass on your radio, the bass guitar becomes even more prominent than it already is, further disrupting from the mix. If you listen to their album "I BELIEVE", you will see what a difference good mixing/mastering accomplishes. Everything is well balanced and the voices always take precedence over the accompaniment ~ neither one overpowering the other but instead complimenting each other perfectly, consistently throughout. There is a sparkle to the vocals in every track.
I agree that the first 9 songs all sound very similar and uneventful...with the exception of "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go." This song was closely microphoned but at certain times it sounds robotic, artificial. Especially when the voices reach higher up and the part where Bill Gaither sings a few bass notes by himself - it doesnt even sound like him. Its still a great song but they used a little too much "compression" on this track.
I was shocked by the lack of David Phelp solos or even solo verses. I feel Guy Penrod is at the top of his game as a lead vocalist...tops! However, David Phelps has to be the finest overall tenor I have ever heard (smoothness, range, breath control, tone, balance of soft/powerful, expression). He certainly should have had a bit more exposure on this CD.
In the end, I think Russ Taff is a fine addition...but must it be at the expense of Mark Lowry? Can we have all five?. You see, with Mark Lowry, they achieved perfection and recorded it and correctly mastered/mixed it. They were as smooth as cream. Get "I Do Believe" and witness what Im talking about!
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Initial post: Mar 18, 2007 6:38:47 PM PDT
I agree with you about Russ Taff joining the GVB at the expense of Mark Lowry. However, Mark had to leave, and by then wanted to leave, due to MS. He was officially diagnosed in 2005, but knew he had it in 2000. I miss Mark. Knew him when he was in his 20's and he's gotten even better. Bummer.
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