The Isaacs “Favorites: Revisited by Request” Album Review

The Isaacs

Prime Cuts: From the Depths of my Heart, He Understands my Fears, I Have a Father who Cares

Overall Grade: 4.5/5 

Music, like fashion, computers and food, have expiration dates.  The synth-heavy sound of early 90s worship music, for example, is enough to cause a Millennial to squirm.  Similarly, what is in vogue today will inevitably cause goosebumps for people a generation later.  After more than 30 years in the music business and after having prodigious albums and radio singles, it makes sense for the Isaacs to give an update of their best-known songs from years passed.  Moreover, with many of their earlier albums no longer available, it makes sense that these evergreens are made available to a new generation of fans.  Garnering 11 of their fans favourites, they have teamed up with Gaither Music to re-record them again.

Cognizant that music styles change over the passing of time, the Isaacs have wisely decided not to impose the latest bells and whistles on these 11 classics. Rather, they have chosen to adopt a minimalist approach often providing the lightest instrumental touches with the cynosure of the team's harmonising vocals.  Thus, if you like your music stripped down or unplugged, this CD is a treasure trove.

Though never one to be known as a patriotic act, the Isaacs' 2002 rendition of the National anthem, taken from Bill and Gloria Gaither's "Let Freedom Ring," has gone viral.  Today, that video itself is iconic.  Recorded entirely with just their voices alone, this re-recorded version is doubly spine-chilling.  Meanwhile, the rustic fiddling and steel guitar sounds give "It is Well (Elisha's Song)," a re-telling of the Biblical story of Elisha and the widow, a country frame.  Likewise,  "By His Stripes," "He Never Failed Me" and "He Understands my Fears" receive roosty cum bluegrass makeovers, accentuating the heartfelt emotions of the vocals even more.

Celebrating 25 years since its creation, Sonya and Ben's "From the Depths of my Heart" is still as poignant as ever. And with the benefit of hindsight, their vocals are even more engaging and believable relative to the song's first incarnation.  God's provision and care never get celebrated with so much passion as the Isaacs have done with a full-bodied harmony rendition of "I Have a Father who Cares."  Though the Isaacs do excel in the ballads, but with the album very ballad-heavy, it would have benefit the record's flow if there were a few more songs with variegated tempos.  In this regard, the sprightly "He Ain't Done Me Nothing But Good" is a much welcomed recess. 

Regardless of changes of the years, the vox humana (such as the voice of the human being) will never fail to impact.  The Isaacs know this and this is why they have their harmonies the central attraction here.  If you love groups that know how to sing well over Godly tunes that stand the test of time, give this album repeated listenings.



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