CD Review: Greatest Hits Live (Booth Brothers)

Greatest Hits Live (Booth Brothers)The first nine songs on Greatest Hits Live were recorded in front of a live audience on December 30, 2011 in Morristown, Tennessee. The group’s must-have signature songs are included (“He Saw it All,” “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet,” “Still Feelin’ Fine,” “What Salvation’s Done for Me”), but they also mix in the variety you would expect to see in a live concert with current songs and a hymn. Unlike a compilation, the track list isn’t determined by a mechanical calculation of which songs charted the highest; it has the more natural feel of a live program.

Just a few seconds into “Stuff of Life,” Michael Booth forgot the words. His recovery, with a spectacularly funny spin on the maxim that you get what you pay for, is a textbook example of how to recover from blooper that’s as embarrassing as it is funny.

If you ever study public speaking, you’ll be taught that the mark of a professional is not that you never make a mistake. Everyone will make mistakes; the professionals are the ones who can recover smoothly. Michael Booth is a true professional; he immediately got the audience laughing with him instead of at him.

The songs recorded live were recorded solely with soundtracks. But thanks in large part to Michael Booth’s emcee work, there is not a single tracks-only group in our genre better than the Booth Brothers at creating a live experience that approaches the excitement levels of a group with a live band. Besides Booth’s spectacular blooper recovery, highlighted above, one other highlight that deserves special mention was his heart-wrenching setup to “She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name.”

The album closes with two bonus studio cuts of new songs. These songs are so strong that long-time fans who already have the other nine songs ought to purchase the project for these two songs alone. Far too many fast Southern Gospel songs are light on thought-provoking theological statements; “Right in the Middle,” the current radio single, is a welcome exception. If you would think that an exploration of what it means to be in God’s will wouldn’t lend itself naturally to a Southern Gospel toe-tapper, think again!

Meanwhile, “What the World Needs to Hear” is a collection of vignettes of people from all walks of life who need the Gospel. It’s strong enough to be a second single if they need a second before their next album comes out.

Traditional or Progressive: Middle-of-the-road with progressive moments.

Group Members: Michael Booth (tenor), Ronnie Booth (lead), Jim Brady (baritone).

Live Recording Credits: House sound: Robert Dixon. Recorded by Bob Williams and Adam Deene. Post production editing and remix: Bob Williams, Jim Brady. Studio Recording Credits: Produced by Ronnie Booth, Michael Booth, Jim Brady, Nick Bruno. Vocals recorded at Brady House Studios by Jim Brady. Tracks recorded at Sunset Blvd. Studios by Steve Dady. Strings arranged by Steve Mauldin and performed by the Nashville String Machine. Musicians: Jason Webb (piano), Mark Hill (bass), Dave Cleveland (guitars), Steve Brewster (drums). Mixed at: True Blue Audio by Joe Carrell and Jim Brady. Mastered at Yes Master Studios, Nashville, TN.

Song List: In the Sweet By and By; Welcome to the Family; He Saw It All; Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet; Bread Upon the Water; She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name; What Salvation’s Done For Me; Stuff of Life; Still Feeling Fine; Right in the Middle (studio cut); What the World Needs to Hear (studio cut).

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