CD ReviewsBACK HOME AGAIN
Upon first listen to this CD, the immediate thought that came to mind was that this album could have easily been called "The Journey Part 2". From the acoustic arrangements to the bluegrass-type feel here, one can understand why. The song selection here suits the Oak Ridge Boys very well. They perform each of these songs beautifully and with conviction.
One thing that stands out on this album is the energy of Joe Bonsall. From 'Lead Me To That Rock' to 'In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin'', Joe seems to have had a shot of adrenaline for this project. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Duane Allen croons beautiful and thought-provoking songs such as 'I Get To' and 'The Love Of God' with loads of emotion that will cause you to pause and just take in the message being delivered. He also sings the Oak Ridge Boys classic remake of 'Heaven Bound'. Even though this is an acoustic version of the songs, it works well here, and is a fabulously fun sing-a-long.
This CD sets a new record for the Oaks....it is the first time ever that Richard Sterban has sung extensive lead parts in three songs on one album. The mighty bass man delivers the spoken lead in the up tempo, fun number 'Led Out Of Bondage'. He shows off his ocean-bottom-scraping range in 'If We Ever Needed The Lord Before We Sure Do Need Him Now'. Then, he showcases his talents in a re-recorded version of 'Why Me', which originally appeared on the Oaks 1974 self-titled LP, originally sung by Duane Allen. Richard gives this song a completely different feel and new life.
William Lee Golden chimes in here with 'River Of Jordan', 'Lead Me To That Rock' and the very docile 'Back Home Again'. Golden's voice sounds fantastic on this CD, as do each of the Boys.
This CD was originally intended to be the follow-up to The Boys Are Back, as it was recorded and completed in early to mid 2011, but shelved to allow the Oaks to record and release It's Only Natural. Due to the gospel overtones of The Boys Are Back, this CD would have been a better follow up to that album, and would have been a logical step forward. However, given the full blown country release of It's Only Natural, it's superb song selection, the timeless energy of the Oak Ridge Boys on that recording, and overall classic feel of the project, Back Home Again almost seems to be a step backwards for the Oaks. Another full blown country release would have been more welcomed.
Having said that, when this CD is judged on it's own, it is a very fun, very well performed, very well produced, and very well mixed project. All of the Boys voices are clear in each song. Richard Sterban's anchor-bass bellowings are prominent, even in the many four-part harmony areas of each song. He is not buried in the mix whatsoever, and that adds to the fun of the entire listening experience. Kudos to Mark Capps and Ben Isaacs on the final mix job.
Each of these songs have been around for a long time, and
The Oak Ridge Boys perform them as if they are fresh and new, and make them the
sound as though they are. Despite this CD's unfortunate fate of having to follow
2011's fantastic It's Only Natural, it's still a great Oak Ridge Boys CD,
and certainly belongs in their extensive catalog as a noteworthy addition.
Cut Outs: none