Boy, have I saved the worst for last! Err... that's best for worst! Wait... I meant to say best for least! No... it should be least for worst! Darn it... I've saved the least for last... ARGH! THE BEST FOR LAST!!!
Don't count on it.
Can you believe that this is the photo shopped clean version of the album cover? Someone must have used this in their garage under their engine when they changed the oil - it was that bad. The album was in great shape though.
And regardless of what you might be thinking about this album, fear not. Tammy Faye Bakker (now Messner) only has ONE song on the whole album and the only contribution Jim Bakker made to this album was the back cover notes and an executive producer credit to his name.
The rest of the album is performed by one time members of the PTL family in its heyday. To some, it's your standard 1980s teleevangelist type of album - usually sold at touring revival concerts or through a 1-800 number. If you close your eyes, you can imagine the 80s bouffant hairdos, the linebacker blouse shoulder pads, and all that mascara.
There's nothing really memorable here vocally outside of Tammy Faye (for all the wrong reasons of course). But there are two instrumentals on the album that truly stand out.
One of the problems with "O Holy Night" is that massive buildup to the final peak in the song. Many vocalists have tried, few have succeeded, some should never have even attempted it. Violinist Vern McLellan performs "O Holy Night" on the album and you'll be surprised by it. It's got a lot going for it, some good, some bad.
The other instrumental is "Away In A Manger" by the PTL Orchestra. The orchestration is pure 80s, the arrangement is quite good, and it's definitely the standout track of the album. Then I began to wonder. WHY is it the standout track? Why does this sound out of place yet familiar?
A simple look on the back cover will tell you everything you need to know. Underneath the scrawlings of Jim Bakker and just above the logo for PTL Records & Tapes lies the answer:
The one and only Thurlow Spurr!
My friend Ernie has posted at a few items from Mr. Spurr at his blog (most of which are currently available to download). Earlier this year, I reviewed Spurr's "Christmas; Time For Song" album which you have to read to understand the full effect that Thurlow Spurr has on me. I'm too far tired and depressed to explain it.
What a way to go out on:
Jim & Tammy - Christmas With Love
I would say "Happy listening..." but I just can't.