Dallas Holm & Praise Live 1977-A Very Special Album; by Philip Mayabb
This week, we will celebrate what in my opinion should be the most joyous day on the calendar for a Christian, and that is Easter. Yes, we love Christmas, because that is the day that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but without His death on Good Friday, there would be no salvation for mankind, and Easter is even more important because without the resurrection, we would serve a figurehead, just as many other religions do. The fact that Jesus died and rose from the grave brought grace and forgiveness to all men, should they ask for and accept it, which makes Easter weekend the most important time of the year, in my opinion.
So with that in mind, we're bringing a very special album to you this week. Recorded and released in 1977 Dallas Holm & Praise Live is a landmark LP. This is one a very small handful of albums that I consider a must have for any classic CCM fan. Over 500,000 copies of this album have sold making it an RIAA certified gold album, which is a VERY impressive feat for any Christian album from the 70s. I believe there are two main reason why this album has sold so well...1-this is a masterpiece of an album. The music contained on it still holds up well today, 41 years after its initial release. It was an album that was and still is enjoyed by not only fans of contemporary music, but southern gospel fans as well. Reason 2 is more specific...this album contains the quintessential Easter song, that of course being the 1978 GMA Dove Award Song Of The Year Rise Again.
There are probably a small number of Christians who have not heard this classic song, mostly because it is sang every year on Easter Sunday in countless churches around the world. In his autobiography This Is My Story, Dallas says he prayed and asked God if it were You, what would you say? How would you express what You felt inside when You were dying on the cross?(+) Immediately the words to song began to flow onto the paper, making this a God given song, which is probably one of the reasons that Rise Again is so well loved, even today.
However, this is an entire album that we're playing, and there are plenty more songs to love on this all time CCM classic. The acoustic overtones of the album make it a joy to listen to, and the proceedings lead off in a fun manner with both Hey! I'm A Believer and a cover of LoveSong's Front Seat, Back Seat. From there, the tempo is slowed down a bit, as the band performs 2 songs from Dallas' last solo album He Means All To Me, and Jesus, I'm An Open Book. After introducing band members Tim and LaDonna Johnson and Randy Adams, they perform LaDonna's song Thank You Jesus, before closing side one of the album with the powerful If I Had It To Do All Over Again. Side two starts up with the rousing, upbeat Let My Light Shine, and then Dallas talks about writing the album's standout track Rise Again. The album concludes with the very introspective He Knew Me Then and the invitation is given with Come Unto Jesus, another new song.
In 1970, Dallas Holm became the Music Minister for the David Wilkerson Crusades, and he recorded several solo albums. Just before putting Praise together as a band, the crusade office had moved to Lindale, Texas, which is where this album was recorded. I'm fairly certain that most of the people in attendance that night (most of them involved with the crusade, I'm guessing) didn't know that they were witnessing history in the making, but the live album that was captured that night was and is still an all time classic in the annals of Contemporary Christian music. It was one of the first CCM albums to achieve gold album status, and was so popular, in fact, that the Benson Company actually re-issued it in 1983, six years after its initial release, with new artwork. I consider this album to be one of the cornerstones of my own personal LP collection. If you've never heard it, you're in for a treat, if you have heard it already, please enjoy it with us this week as we celebrate the fact that our Lord is alive, and that He did Rise Again, just as he said he would!
1. Hey! I'm A Believer
2. Front Seat, Back Seat
3. He Means All To Me
4. Jesus, I'm An Open Book
5. Group Intros
6. Thank You Jesus
7. If I Had It To Do All Over Again
8. Let My Light Shine
9. Rise Again
10. He Knew Me Then
11. Invitation/Come Unto Jesus
(+) excerpt from This Is My Story written by Dallas Holm with Robert Paul Lamb, 1980 Impact books.
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