I recall as a young boy, my parents taking me to Memphis, Tennessee, for the annual “Southern Gospel Music Convention.” There was so much talent there. I remember music groups like the Speer Family, and one group in particular, the Oak Ridge Quartet. Back then, I became a big Bill (William Lee) Golden fan when he first joined the group in 1965.
In time, the Convention relocated to Nashville, and the Oak Ridge Quartet became The Oak Ridge Boys. Turning a corner, and taking a gamble that surprised many, the band sought out a new audience. Without compromising their principles, but producing many big hits like “Elvira” and “American Made,” the conversion paid off.
Today, the band, with the original members, has done a 360, producing another album that takes them back to their roots in southern gospel music. The name of the album is 17th Avenue Revival, and it rocks…in a gospel way.
The Boys open with “Brand New Star,” a song fit for today that inspires. But, I have to show a preference to my guy, Bill Golden, as he sings the cover tune, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” With a bit of Elvis, “Pray to Jesus,” is a favorite. Another favorite, “If I Die,” is simple but exemplar. Many will connect to this sobering tune.
17th Avenue Revival, is an album that expresses faith, hope, and love. If you are a fan of gospel music, or a country fan, this album is for you. In this writer’s opinion, 17th Avenue Revival is refreshing to hear in our world of hate, fear, and bigotry. Their fans will understand its impact. I’m J.R. Joseph Miller, and this is The Oak Ridge Boys singing at the 17th Avenue Revival.