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Go, Let God, You're There
Artist: Diamond Doug
Label: Frogtown Records
Length: 13 tracks / 44.58
As a journalist/broadcaster I find myself on the lists of various labels and PR people and consequently get a pile of press releases and albums sent to me. I get enquiries from independents for advice and help and asked whether I can interview new artists etc etc. But nothing compares to the PR that has accompanied Diamond Doug's releases. I have been bombarded by press releases telling me that a station somewhere is playing him or that Doug himself sneezed yesterday. The guys at Frogtown are persistent and persevering in their endeavor to get me excited about Diamond Doug's music.
Unfortunately, whilst _Let Go, Let God, You're There_ falls musically into the inspirational country genre, it isn't inspiring me. Diamond Doug has been compared (at least in his bio) to Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves and this is definitely old time country of a variety TV nature. The kind of old time stuff that Doug used to sing on the Andy Williams show thirty years ago. I cannot fault Doug on the sincerity of his message and the fact that he wants to communicate his faith through songs. I just don't think this is very good.
After his early success with the Christy Minstrels and The Good Time Singers, he spent thirty years out of the music business. Returning to cut a couple of albums (this is the second) I am left wondering whether he is actually stuck in a time warp recording music that wouldn't sound out of place in 1968. Country music has moved right along and there are plenty of artists out there communicating their faith in an inspirational country style in better fashion than this.
Some of these songs aren't simply dripping in sentimentality, they're drowning in it as Diamond Doug croons his way through lyrics some very bad cliched lyrics. Let me give some examples…
Lord I'm just a lonely stranger/ in a world that does not belong to me
So it is written, so it shall be done/ That's what the Lord said when he made the risin' sun/ Then he made the moon to light the night / Guide our steps, teach us right." ("Prayin' In the Morning")Are you getting the idea yet? Hmmm…
This is musical and lyrical treacle and Diamond Doug is not blessed with a beautiful voice. The supposedly top cut which makes the title track sounds like it came straight off the Andy Williams show and I can just imagine it being performed on a wild west set with a big ole wagon and everybody dressed up as cowboys with showgirls warbling along. Again, the message is fine, but the medium? No thanks!
This is badly produced with cheap drum sounds, backing tracks, and warbly singing-- it's not recommended. Perhaps being English doesn't help and if I was a resident of Tennessee or Virginia, this might make sense. The bio says that Doug is "internationally acclaimed" but surely they can't mean for this album although the blurb also says that Rodney Allan, Program Director at WCRR in Rural Retreat, Virginia, USA, said, "When I play his Music, the Boards Light up!" Is this listeners phoning in pleading for him to take the album OFF? That would be my guess!
Mike Rimmer 7/28/2002