What Others are Saying . . .
Excellent Review of
Billie Smith’s Songwriting and Singing
Norman Burns, Editor of Hymn Time Blog
This album is a shining example of why I chose to run this blog. Christian music comes and goes. The industry that controls the releases often forgets the past. Denominational music is even worse. There are private press releases. Releases only issued for a fund raiser. Evangelists sell their music to pay for their ministry. These releases are just for a season. They serve their purpose, and they are gone.
Some of these records disappear into the cracks of music history. Many of the records I come across are so obscure that there is no mention of them online. If there is mention it is usually on a “Strange/Weird/Bad Record Covers” website. I want to help change that.
Church music, such as this example, is the backbone of American music. Many of the modern styles of music, even secular, have their roots in spiritual and gospel songs. That is why I want to preserve these records. They deserve more than a fate in a discount bin at a thrift store and ridicule on bad record cover websites.
I became aware of Billie Smith from a Christmas For Christ record. (More on Christmas For Christ in future blog posts to come!) If it had not been for that, I am not sure I would have known about her. I do not know I would have found her music. That’s because I do not shop for music based on what I already know and what I think I want to hear. I shop for new artists I never heard of before. When I uncover a treasure like this, it makes all the time invested in the search all the more worthwhile.
There is little mention about Billie Smith (and her husband, Dale Smith) online. So I do not have a lot to share on the making of this record. All I know is they were from Oklahoma City, OK. I learned he was a pastor at The First United Pentecostal Church. I can only assume Billie blessed that congregation with her wonderful music. Also, the church moved to a new building and became the Revival of Faith Christian Church. And . . . that is it. It is like he and his wife’s music ministry never existed as far as the Internet is concerned.
And this is wonderful music. Aside from her contribution on the Christmas For Christ LP, I never heard her music before. The title track bursts off the record with late 60s/early 70s pure pop goodness. “Go Tell Somebody” has strains of the snappy and catchy pop music from the likes of Petula Clark. If Phil Spector listened to this record, he’d love this “wall of sound” style here. It is sublime and beautiful.
Billie penned five of the nine tracks here. I have seen too many records of just cover songs. I love the original compositions on this album. She was a capable and accomplished song writer, and the evidence is in these songs. This is chamber pop before there was a category for “chamber pop.” There is no better example of this than “Lead Me To A Soul.” Larry Benson, the producer, blends guitar, piano and organ with perfection. The song reaches towards the “wall of sound” style made famous by Phil Spector. “Teach Me, Lord” in its lush pastoral textures exemplifies the style of her music.
She chose her cover songs with care. They blend in with her style well.
This is not just another find, it is a keeper. If you are reading, listening, and enjoying, please like and share this blog on Facebook and elsewhere. Music like this is too good to keep under a bushel.
(Billie and I wish to thank Norman for his most complimentary assessment of her compositions and singing). – Dale Smith
Dale and Billie Smith. Let My God Love You. Her voice is one of the best I've ever heard for natural beauty. On this album, 'Broken Promises', 'Let My God Love You', 'Best is Yet to Come', 'Up Above the Clouds'. With her husband, she sings 'Just Like My Lord'. He solos on 'I Must Go Away', on which he beats Andrae Crouch, who wrote the song, so that's not too bad.
~ Wonderful Words on Facebook