Tag Archives: Imperials

Sing it Again: “Lord of the Harvest”

Major blast from the 80s past alert! This classic Imperials song first came out in 1982. I’m embedding a live performance of it from a couple years later. Future GVB tenor Jim Murray takes the lead. I grew up on this guy’s voice, so it’s always held a special place in my heart. It’s so smooth and clear that I never grew tired of listening to it. I still haven’t:

Whoa, is that Dick Tunney with a mullet on keys??  Never mind, move along…

Nothing to be said except this song is an absolute gem. Soaring melody, thought-provoking lyrics. Somebody in southern gospel could easily record it. I think Ernie Haase & Signature Sound would be a great candidate, but I had a different idea too. Jaron Faulknor of Voices Won has always reminded me of Jim Murray. With him singing lead, the trio could do a very tight, smooth version of this song, perhaps with a more stripped-down feel. The bass part would be missed, but I think they would still be able to capture that classic feel. Thoughts?

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Sing it Again: Heed the Call

Another new series, this one like Daniel’s “Encore.” I look at songs sung by a gospel group that deserve to be revived, and you tell me whether you agree with my ideas about who should revive them, or not.

We’ll start with a song by the Imperials. Now the Imperials sort of went all over the map, sonically speaking. They started off very traditional with Jake Hess, and they did some great work there.  But after some member shifts, they got more adventurous and starting branching out into more of a light Christian rock sound. Heed the Call shows this side of them, with Russ Taff on lead and a great lineup of songs.

The title cut is an energetic number about following after Christ. It’s smart, fun, and fast-paced, with a wonderful bass echo that comes in towards the end (go Armond Morales!) Listen:

I’ve often mentioned how my fondness for Signature Sound is really related to the fact that I cut my teeth on this version of the Imperials growing up. EHSS often brings back those memories for me with their style and sound. And of course, with Ian Owens on board, they now have an actual Imperials alumnus contributing vocals, hand-picked to replace Armond no less. Ian and I had a little talk about what this could mean for their future repertoire, and I offered Ernie a few ideas. This song was one of them. The production on the original is of course very dated, but it could be spiffed up and given a fresh treatment with great results. Doug would be a natural fit on lead, and Ian would steal the show with the bass line. It could easily become a crowd favorite.

Look for more of these “bring back that old Imperials song” entries in this series. Maybe there’ll even be another one for EHSS…

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