Friday, August 9, 2013

Larnelle Live in Nashville - Larnelle Harris



This recreates memorable moments in gospel music history.

Larnelle Live in Nashville (www.larnelle.com)
Limited Edition DVD & CD
Featuring: Larnelle Harris, Steve Amerson, Steve Green and Sandi Patty
Approximate Running Times: DVD – 90 minutes, CD – 12 tracks, 60 minutes

When I think of Larnelle Harris, what comes to mind is his 1984 duet with Sandi Patty, “More than Wonderful,” which earned them a Grammy Award. Through the years that memorable performance has stayed with me. How fitting that they should be reunited on this CD/DVD for a new duet, “Then Came the Morning,” and “I’ve Just Seen Jesus,” which gave the duo another Grammy in 1986. Any recollection of great moments in gospel history should include the contribution that these two have made together as well as individually.

The CD and DVD are mostly the same, differing in only minor ways. The DVD captures Harris and Patty performing “Then Came the Morning,” in the studio, which is one of the highlights. The concert version is found on the CD.

All clad in tuxedos, Harris sings with Steve Green and Steve Amerson on “It is Well with My Soul,” and “Kings of the Earth.” On the latter they powerfully highlight the transitory rule of the kingdoms of this world. It makes me think of decaying monuments lying in forgotten wastelands.

Despite some minor problems in the DVD sound mix, consisting of occasional poorly-sounding applause and the bass being too prominent at times, the DVD is preferable to the CD. Listeners of the CD don’t get to see how demonstrative Harris can be, which enhances the listening experience.

The DVD also includes “Teach Me to Love,” a concept video recorded with Steve Green during their younger days. It’s another satisfying duet. This break in the performance is not included on the CD.

It is a wonder that each singer retains so much strength and dynamic range in their vocals. I can’t help but think that part of it is due to a godly lifestyle and their obvious desire to glorify God with their talent. I am not as familiar with Steve Amerson, but his voice may be the most powerful.

The songs include Harris doing one medley of his most popular tracks and another of some praise-oriented hymn classics. New and old songs serve as strong declarations of faith. There are no watered-down sentiments here. The selection is excellent.

“The Greatest of These,” written by Scott Krippanye, Tony Wood and Steve Siler, is an inspired adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13. It covers the entire chapter. Harris’ eloquent rendition reminds listeners of what matters most.

The concert was recorded in the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s studios and must have aired on the network. The DVD occasionally shows a website address for Harris, which would have been better to omit. The slight imperfections in editing and mixing make this seem less professional, but these are insignificant problems that many might not notice.

I respect each of the artists, who perform here at extraordinary levels, but the inspirational style, which can sometimes border on the grandiose, is not my favorite. It may be indicative of a bias for less production. Fans of these artists, however, should not be disappointed. Several times the audience is moved to stand and applaud.


This event documents some highlights in several notable careers. It serves as a tribute to their legacies and shows that they still have their song. 
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