There is just something Special About the Classic Hymns of The Church and 2nd Chapter of Acts Delivers! by Philip Mayabb
There is just something special about the classic hymns of the church. Even though the majority of churches read the lyrics to their worship songs off the walls now, there once was a time when hymnals were what was used exclusively. To be honest, I miss the days when we would sing nothing but songs like Amazing Grace, and Oh How I Love Jesus, because even though they were simple in concept, hymns just seem more appropriate for a church service to me. I have no problem per se with modern praise and worship songs and choruses...I have been a worship leader myself, and have sang many of the newer songs, but in my experience, the songs that seemed to get the best response from the congregation were the traditional hymns from the songbook, which makes me love those oldies even more!
Well for those of you who enjoy hymns as much as I do, the good news is that there are a large number of terrific hymns projects out there, and they have been performed by a wide array of artists, and we are featuring a classic hymns LP this week on Vinyl Revival, but not just by any artist, this week's album was actually suggested to us a few weeks ago. We are giving a listen to the album Hymns by none other than The 2nd Chapter Of Acts. This album was released in 1986, and even though they may not have been dominating the CCM radio airwaves in the manner that they once had, the 2nd Chapter proved with this album that they were still a force to be reckoned with. There are 11 tracks on this album, done in the unique manner that only Annie, Matthew, and Nelly could deliver. The signature harmonies that fans had loved for over 12 years were still front and center, but this time, they were singing the standards of the church.
Of course, by 1986 the field of Contemporary Christian music had became much more crowded that it was when the 2nd Chapter was in its heyday in the mid 70s to early 80s. Solo artists, such as Amy Grant, Russ Taff, and Sandi Patti had risen to prominence on the airwaves, and the mostly organic musical sounds of the Jesus Music era had been replaced with more electronic instruments on the vast majority of CCM albums. This album of hymns gave the 2nd Chapter a more modern musical style, with keyboards and electronic drums being put into the mix, to accompany the group's impeccable vocals. The result is pure 2COA, and the album was successful enough commercially that the group would release a follow up, appropriately called Hymns 2 two years later, during their last full year of ministry as a group.
The group's website says that this first hymns project was the result of three different people in three different cities suggesting that they do a hymn project. As producer Buck Herring (Annie's husband) said If one person had something like this, we may have missed it, but when all three brought the exact message....* It would certainly seem that God himself had spoken to all three of those individuals, because both Hymns and Hymns 2 not only continued to sell well after the group disbanded, they are still two of their all time best sellers, which confirms that the Lord had a hand in the project.
Of course, the average fan can tell that God's anointing is on this album just from listening, as I hope you will do this week. The selection of songs is always key to a recording project such as this one, but the 2nd Chapter did an exceptional job at not only choosing the hymns, but also in the musical and vocal arrangements that are included with each song. From the opening number All Creatures Of Our God And King to He Has Formed Me, which finishes the LP, fans are treated to an exceptional album, with not a single bad or misplaced track (which should not be a surprise, since this is one of the finest vocal groups in CCM history). The music indicates that the project is from the 80s, but in all honesty, the vocals are so good that even casual fans of the 2nd Chapter's work will love every second of the album. There are songs that will have listeners feeling as if they are in their home church's Sunday morning worship service, and have them ready to life their hands in praise to God, one of these in particular is their version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness, which is one of my personal favorites from the LP, along with Holy, Holy, Holy, with evokes a solemn spirit with me every time I listen to it.
The fact that this recording is so timely today, given the way worship services have changed to the modern music and songs that are widely utilized, makes it that much more enjoyable to listen to. If you cannot feel the spirit of Almighty God when Matthew Ward sings How Great Thou Art, something is wrong. The movement toward praise and worship music had not quite kicked into high gear when this album was released, but I promise that your church could play this recording as folks are filing into the sanctuary, putting them into a spirit of worship. If that sounds like a claim that might be too bold to believe, I urge you to join us on CCM Classic's Vinyl Revival this week as we play one of the best hymns albums in the history of Christian music, by one of the genre's best groups of all time. This album is proof that just because a song may be old, doesn't mean it cannot touch the soul, and I will let the music prove that fact...
Side 1 -
1. All Creatures Of Our God And King
2. My Jesus I Love Thee
3. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
4. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
5. Crown Him With Many Crowns
6. Take My Life And Let It Be
Side 2 -
1. Holy, Holy, Holy
2. Fairest Lord Jesus
3. O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus
4. How Great Thou Art
5. He Has Formed Me
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