J.D. Crowe & the New South

The Model Church

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This gospel album was recorded and originally released in the early 1970s on the Lemco label. When Rebel acquired the rights to Lemco's catalog several years later, it reissued this and two other J.D Crowe albums (Bluegrass Holiday and Ramblin' Boy, retitled Blackjack). What may be most noteworthy about The Model Church is the fact that it's the first gospel album to feature singer Doyle Lawson, who would later make some of the best bluegrass gospel recordings to date at the head of his own band Quicksilver. With J.D. Crowe on banjo and vocals, Larry Rice on mandolin and vocals, and Bobby Slone on bass, this quartet delivers a lovely set of gospel songs, some of which have since become standards. Highlights include the hauntingly beautiful title track "Goin' Up," a the Gosdin Brothers classic, and a fine version of Jim & Jesse's "Look for Me." The echoey production is a little bit strange for a bluegrass album; it won't satisfy everyone's tastes, but there's no denying the power of these performances.

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