The Gospel Collection

Charley Pride

Real Gone Music, 2014

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Charley Pride was a black man in a white man’s business. He was a country superstar when country music was almost exclusively dominated by white musicians and fans. During the 1960s and 1970s, he sold tens of millions of albums; only Elvis Presley sold more records for the RCA label during that period. Pride also released 39 number one country singles over the course of his career. He was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in the year 2000.

He has released 48 studio albums but only two contained gospel music. Real Gone Music has now reissued 1971’s my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Did You Think To Pray and 1975’s Sunday Morning With Charley Pride under the title The Gospel Collection. The material from Sunday Morning With Charley Pride is making its official debut on CD.

Pride’s voice was somewhat unusual for country music at the time. It had a very smooth quality that enabled him to find commercial success beyond country music’s normal fan base.

Country and gospel music have always been first cousins and Pride was able to make the jump between the two forms with ease.

Each of the albums has a distinct quality. Did You Think To Pray has a more traditional flavor as it mixes some gospel standards with newly created inspirational songs. Sunday Morning With Charley Pride has a more contemporary feel.

Did You Think To Pray is a classic fusion of country and gospel. “Let Me Live” was a hit country single release and finds Pride stretching his vocal ability in an emotional performance. His laidback renditions of “Whispering Home” and “Church In The Wildwood” bring these old chestnuts into the modern age.

Many of the compositions on Sunday Morning With Charley Pride were written especially for him. The Jordanaires and the Nashville Edition provide choir-like backing vocals on the tracks. “Little Delta Church” finds Pride reminiscing about happy childhood memories, while incorporating such hymns as “Amazing Grace,” “In The Sweet By And By,” and “Precious Memories” into the mix. “Brush Arbor Meeting” is a nice nostalgic performance, while “Without Mama Here” is and outstanding ballad.

The Gospel Collection presents two unique stops in the career of country superstar Charley Pride. They remain two of the better gospel albums of the 1970s and it is nice to have them back in circulation.

Rating: B+

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© 2014 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Real Gone Music, and is used for informational purposes only.