Dave's Review

Feelin' Fine - Old Friends Quartet

by David Bruce Murray

Title: Feelin' Fine
Artist: Old Friends Quartet
Label: Spring House Music
Producer: Wesley Pritchard
Song Titles: "Great Day," "Happy Rhythm," "That's What Jesus Means To Me," "Headin' Home," "I Wanna Know," "Tenderly," "It's Almost Over," "Led Out Of Bondage," "Sweet Jesus," "I Want To Be More Like Jesus," "Thanks To Calvary," "I Couldn't Begin To Tell You," "I Feel Like Shoutin'," and "Until Tomorrow"
Rating: 4 stars

Old Friends Quartet takes you on a trip down memory lane with Feelin' Fine. If you've followed quartet singing for very many years, chances are you've heard most of these songs before. The song "I Want To Be More Like Jesus" was written 25 years ago, ultimately becoming a signature song for James Blackwood. It's the most "recent" number on the CD, though, compared to the other choices.

"Great Day" and "Happy Rhythm" get things rolling with some great vocal blend and musical energy. I really wanted to hear that piano solo stretch out a little more on "Happy Rhythm," but it's still one of my favorite cuts on the CD. Jake Hess delivers a blues tinged version of "Headin' Home" a few minutes later, but he really shines on "Tenderly." It's the type of song that Hess can take to another level. Meanwhile, George Younce covers "That's What Jesus Means To Me," "I Wanna Know" and "Led Out Of Bondage" in his unique style. Ernie Haase is featured on "Sweet Jesus," while Wesley Pritchard takes the lead spot on "I Want To Be More Like Jesus" and "It's Almost Over." In mirror style, the CD ends as it began, with an uptempo tune featuring the entire group ("I Feel Like Shoutin' ") followed by some nice vocal blend on "Until Tomorrow".

Feelin' Fine surpasses the Old Friends' previous recording Encore. Encore contained several of Younce's, Hess's and Haase's signature songs. That was fine, but a better version of every one of those songs was already available on a previous Cathedrals or Hess fronted project. In contrast, Feelin' Fine offers fresh performances of some truly classic tunes, much like the Cathedrals highly acclaimed Radio Days release from several years ago.

By the way, the answer is "No," they aren't repeating themselves with "Thanks To Calvary." The song by that title that appears on Encore is delivered by Younce . . . "Thanks to Calvary, I don't live here anymore." On Feelin' Fine, "Thanks To Calvary" is a song that features Jake Hess, written by Vep Ellis . . . "I'm fine thanks to Calvary." Also, it's worth pointing out that due to the CD title, Feelin' Fine, you may assume that Mosie Lister's "I'm Feelin' Mighty Fine" is on this project, but it isn't. However, with 14 tracks and nearly 40 minutes of music, you should still be satisfied with Feelin' Fine.

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