The Best Of The Early Forbes Family

The Forbes Family

Rebel, 1994

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones


The Forbes Family was a family of Pennsylvania musicians who formed in 1977 with a classic bluegrass gospel sound that was elegant in its simplicity.  Formed at a time when bluegrass and Southern gospel music were not all that dissimilar, the group reworked several 1970s and ‘80s hits from Southern gospel songwriters and delivered them with beautiful vocal execution and low-key instrumentation.  Yet despite their no-frills approach, Forbes Family recordings are powerful and enduring.  Rebel’s collection of their early efforts, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Best Of The Early Forbes Family, proves this.

The focus of the Forbes Family’s music is centered on their vocal harmony.  They certainly have high quality instrumental abilities as well, but they were determined in their early years to let the lyric and the tight family harmonies speak for themselves rather than flashes of instrumental flare.  Certainly each has their place in bluegrass music, but in the genre of bluegrass gospel specifically, there is a certain charm to allowing the praise that the lyric offers to be front and center. 

As with so many other “Best Of” collections, the selections will appeal to any Forbes Family or general bluegrass gospel fan.  There are some better tunes than others: renditions of Claire Lynch’s “Living In The Name Of Love” and “Come Unto Me,” Cliff Waldron’s “These Are They,” and other traditional like “Gleams Of That Golden Morning” stand out far better than some more depressing fare like the sappy “Daddy, I Miss You At Home” and “In The Valley He Restoreth My Soul.”  Some of the best gems are found in the several a cappella tracks such as “Sleeping In The Grave,” “Gloryland,” and “Jesus, I’ll Never Forget.”  The distinct blend of family harmony puts a nice topping on these numbers.

The Best Of The Early Forbes Family demonstrates a brand of no-frills musical approach that is hard to come by in today’s religious music.  Here, the lyrics, melodies, and harmonies speak – or rather sing – for themselves.  Allowing that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable disc.

Rating: B+

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