Toe-to-Toe: Ball Brothers vs. Mullins, “Who’s Gonna Stand in the Gap?”

BB vs. M

[Update: Brian has pointed out that Squire Parsons also recorded this song himself back in the 80s. If you’d like to hear that version for yet a third take, click here.]

Since some readers took offense at my appropriation of Steve Eaton’s “Smackdown” title for this series, I’ve given it a new name so as to accommodate everyone. 🙂 Today, I’m taking a hot new track off the Ball Brothers’ release Pursuit (review scheduled for next week) and comparing it with an old acappella version by the Mullins. The song is “Who’s Gonna Stand in the Gap?” written by Squire Parsons. Squire’s songs consistently deliver for me. He just seems to knock it out of the park every time, and this resounding call to action is no exception. It’s like a contemporary “Dare to Be a Daniel,” exhorting Christians to stand proudly for God.

The Ball Brothers’ version is the standout track on their new project and pulls out all the stops for a big band swingfest, while the Mullins’ version is more soulful. I was happy to discover the album that the Mullins’ version comes from, Vocal Point. Classy acappella reminiscent of the Haven of Rest Quartet or Glad. You can listen to both versions on Spotify. Check out the Mullins here. Then check out the Ball Brothers here. Which do you prefer? To me, there is a clear winner, but I will let you be the judge!


Taranda Greene Signs with StowTown Records

The StowTown star roster just keeps growing and growing. Taranda Greene is the newest addition. Her debut record with the company, Stronger, is slated for a November 11th release and features a dynamite lineup of guest artists, including the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Christ Church Choir of Nashville, Wess Morgan, Sonya Isaacs-Yeary, Jason Crabb and The Martins. Taranda says, “As a soloist, it’s important to stay connected to a group you believe in and who believes in you. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the StowTown family. And that’s exactly why – it feels like a family. I’m certain only the best is yet to come.” Read the full press release here.

Monday Morning Humor: Before Mark Lowry, Before Tim Hawkins…

Last week I featured a clip of one of my favorite comic actors, Dick Van Dyke. Did you know that he has a kid brother who’s also a pretty darn good comedian? His name is Jerry, and I discovered him in this old episode of the Judy Garland Show. I immediately thought, “So THAT’S where Mark Lowry and Tim Hawkins got their weird!” I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if some of their facial contortions and physical techniques were influenced by Jerry Van Dyke, maybe even specifically influenced by this routine, which is classic. In it, he lip-syncs/performs a 6-and-a-half minute version of the Lone Ranger’s radio debut. I actually have that radio broadcast on cassette tape, which made the routine even funnier for me to watch. He really hits his stride once Tonto shows up about half-way through:


Libby Stuffle Recovering From Mild Heart Attack

In case you missed it, Libby Stuffle began experiencing chest pain this past weekend, and the Perrys’ date was canceled so she could be taken to the hospital. After some tests, doctors have confirmed that she suffered a heart attack. Yesterday afternoon, they inserted a stent and announced that she won’t require open heart surgery. She’s awake and feisty as ever, but she’s very weak from loss of blood. Keep her and her family in your prayers as they consider the next step in her treatment, and follow further updates on the Perrys’ Facebook page.

Guest Classic Review: This Stage of Grace, by the Booth Brothers

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Brian Fuson of Fuson’s Findings.]This Stage of Grace, by the Booth Brothers

Let’s hit the Rewind button and go all the way back to 2001. Before everyone on earth had an iPhone, when Chrysler was still owned by Germans, and my precious Detroit Tigers hadn’t had a winning season since I was a toddler. The Booth Brothers had no chart topping songs, no legions of fans, and weren’t really known by the average Gospel Music fan. Ronnie and Michael Booth were continuing the group they started with their father, Ron Sr, in the early 90’s. When Sr. departed in 1999, a young man named Joseph Smith joined the group, taking over the baritone position. Smith spent a couple years with Perfect Heart before the group disbanded and had proven to be an impressive vocalist in his short stint.

The group had recorded one impressive project, Walkin’ On The Good Side, that was fantastic. This Stage of Grace, released in 2001, would be the follow up. And it was the album that would make the Southern Gospel industry recognize the guys.

Continue reading “Guest Classic Review: This Stage of Grace, by the Booth Brothers”

Guest Concert Review: The Whisnants in Pottsville, AR

Lauren's Whisnants Concert Shot #1

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Lauren of Lauren’s Southern Gospel Views From the Pew.]

Saturday night I made my way north to a small church on top of a hill where the Whisnants were singing that night. They were scheduled to be in Pottsville, Ark. at Pottsville Freewill Baptist Church that night. Pottsville is a small town of about 3,000, so as you can imagine, the nightlife leaves something to be desired. And for a small town and a smaller church, thankfully many of the people of Pottsville chose to attend a gospel concert on Saturday night. Continue reading “Guest Concert Review: The Whisnants in Pottsville, AR”

Monday Morning Humor: Dick Van Dyke Explains Comedy to Kids

When I was little, my three great loves were Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye and Donald O’Connor. (Pause for a gratuitous collage):

Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye and Donald O'Connor collage

Where was I? Oh yes, one reason why these particular three were my great loves (w/apologies to Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, etc.) was that they all had something specific in common: They were geniuses of physical comedy. And nothing can make little kids laugh like brilliant physical comedy. Of the three, I probably fell hardest (as it were) for Dick Van Dyke, on the strength of his two classic performances in Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. He is also the only one still with us today (with a Twitter account no less—check him out busting a dance move in the department store on Vine too). In today’s clip from his classic sitcom, he is inspired to unpack the science of slapstick and pantomime in front of a classroom of little kids, after failing to impress them merely with words and his cred as a sketch writer for the Alan Brady show. Enjoy:




Welcome to Yankee Gospel Girl! You can call me Esther O’Reilly. I’m a freelance writer, film and music critic, occasional film editor, and all-round old soul. These are a few of my favorite things: great art, conservative politics, and stuff that’s been around since before I was born.  If you’re a first-time visitor, thanks for reading, and pardon my dust–this little corner of the web has been many disparate things for me over the years! Check out my “About” page, and follow me on FaceBook or Twitter. You can also find some of my artistic experiments in film editing on YouTube, read my social commentary at conservative daily The Stream , or read my film criticism at the group blog More Than One Lesson. Or if you care to stick around this space a while, feel free to browse around in the filing cabinets for more musings on music, movies, faith and culture, and old stuff. And if you find something I wrote seven years ago that offends you… I’m sorry. By which I mean I’m not sorry.

Guest Concert Review: Brian Free & Assurance in Wynne, AR

[Editor’s Note: This concert review is a guest post by Lauren of Lauren’s Southern Gospel Views From the Pew. It’s shorter than she had planned it to be, but thereby hangs a tale…]

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. We serve a God of all possibilities, but sometimes He chooses not to allow things to go the way you want them to. This was the case Saturday night. Brian Free and Assurance was in Wynne, Ark. I knew there was some construction on the interstate between there and where I live, so I wanted to leave early to ensure I would make it. I didn’t leave quite as early as I planned, but still I didn’t think I would have any problem making the concert.

I was only three miles from my exit off the interstate and about 15 miles from the church. I began to see the warning signs of possible delays, but it was only two more miles of interstate. Why take the detour and add five more miles when I was so close? Traffic showed no signs of stopping until I passed that last detour exit. That’s when I saw brake lights in front of me. Continue reading “Guest Concert Review: Brian Free & Assurance in Wynne, AR”