The Statler Brothers

The Gospel Spirit

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This discount-priced compilation, part of a series issued by Mercury Records' parent label, Universal, that also includes entries by Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty, draws from the Statler Brothers' three previously released albums of inspirational music, the simultaneously released 1975 sets Holy Bible/Old Testament and Holy Bible/New Testament, and 1986's Radio Gospel Favorites. Except for a musical setting of "The Lord's Prayer," the traditional "There Is Power in the Blood," and the closing "Amazing Grace," the material consists of original compositions. That is unobjectionable in itself, although some more purist believers may take exception to the spoken introductions of many of the songs. Holy Bible/Old Testament and Holy Bible/New Testament were concept albums in which the Statlers attempted to edit, rewrite, and musicalize highlights of the two main sections of the Bible, and while the conversion of Bible passages into a folksy American vernacular may not be uncommon, there are members of the faithful who may prefer the story of Isaac, for example (as retold in "Have a Little Faith"), as written and translated originally on the page rather than in the further-removed words of the Statlers. That noted, there is no doubting the Statlers' devotion, and their singing is as effective as ever here.

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