The Oak Ridge Boys will light up your CD player with Colors! The Boys treat us here to 12 songs about American pride, patriotism, and sacrifice. After listening to this CD, any real American will stand up with their head held high, their chin up, their chest out and boldly proclaim, "I'm proud to be and American!" Then they will go shake the hand of a veteran and thank them deeply for their service.
This CD starts off with the title track, immediately throwing down the gauntlet to the listener with the lyrics, "Red as the bloodshed, Blue as the wounded, White as the crosses on our soldiers' graves." This is a great song about loving our country, and truly appreciating those who have given their lives to defend our freedom. The second song "The Absence Of Love" is an excellent song, sung by Duane Allen, talking about the woes in our great nation and who or what's to blame for them. The bottom line? We just don't love each other enough. Superb message!! And later, Richard Sterban delivers "This Is America," a song that deals in-part with September 11, 2001, and our resolve and determination to never give up or give in to any enemy. A very moving chorus, indeed.
Two particular treats on this disc are the re-recordings of "An American Family" and "Thank God For Kids". Regarding the former, it's very close to the original version with the exception of some minor changes in the verse lyrics, and a newly added bridge that mentions the events of 9/11. This version of course, unlike the original recording, features William Lee Golden on baritone harmonies. Speaking of Golden, the newly recorded "Thank God For Kids" is absolutely phenomenal and superior in every way to the original 1982 version. 21 years after it was originally recorded, William Lee breathes new life into this song and sings it with amazing emotion, appropriately adding, after all these years, "Thank God for grandkids too!"
The highlight of this disc, however, is found in a little ditty that Joe Bonsall wrote and sings here entitled "G.I. Joe And Lillie". As Joe sings this beautiful number about a wounded and decorated WWII soldier and a WAC, you assume that he is singing about any given male and female that may have met during the war. However, if the message of the song alone doesn't tug at your heart strings, you will develop a lump in your throat as Joe reveals at the song's conclusion, that he is singing about his father and his mother. Joe, himself, gets choked up on the recording, and fights back tears when he sings it live.
To conclude this wonderful, patriotic collection, the Oak Ridge Boys sing their third recording of "The Star Spangled Banner", and remind all of us how it was meant to be sung; in harmony, with respect and reverence.
Outstanding Cuts: Colors, The Absence Of Love, This Is America, G.I. Joe And Lillie, Thank God For Kids
Cut Outs: The Home Stretch, Let It Ride
In the last few years, the Oaks have "started over again." That's not to say that they ever really stopped. They remain one of the busiest acts in the country, working over 150 dates a year.
But as far as recording goes, they've returned to the very foundation of their music. In 2001, they released their first gospel album in 25 years, and last year, they brought out 11 brand new Christmas songs. Now, they celebrate everything they've stood for through their career: Faith, Family, and Country. Each song falls into this category in some form, and the result is, yet again, outstanding!
Michael Sykes and Duane Allen work together seamlessly as producers. Key tracks include the title track, "The Home Stretch" (tissues are must on this song!), and "Glory Bound," as well as their new rendition of previous hits "An American Family" (which includes a brand-new ending) and one of their signature tunes, "Thank God For Kids." At a retail of thirteen bucks (when most of the industry is charging nearly twenty dollars per 10-song CD), you get TWELVE cuts that are well worth the cost!!