Top 100: #4 What a Great Lifestyle (Gold City)

Release Year: 1997

Album Rank for Group: #2 of 15

Here’s a blurb: What a Great Lifestyle ranks this highly largely on the strength of two of my very favorite songs Gold City has ever recorded.  “God’s Building a Church” is a thrilling brass-driven number with Jay Parrack taking it to the rafters and Tim Riley absolutely hammering notes in the basement.  It is the quintessential song for the 90s era of the quartet.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is one of the best ballads of that era, “Between Me and the Storm,” delivered by Mark Trammell, this Gold City lineup’s go-to ballad singer.  This album also contains a great country-style diddy (“A Little Down Payment”) a modern, true convention song (“Alone in the Garden”), and a very neat listening experience with the jazzy “Good Old Gospel Song”.  This lineup is perhaps more known for their individual singers than for their group blend, but I think the quartet never sounded better than they do on this recording.  Combine that great sound with tremendous song selection, and you have one of Gold City’s best, even if somewhat forgotten, albums.

Knock my socks off: Between Me and the Storm, God’s Building a Church, A Little Down Payment, A Good Old Gospel Song

Don’t skip that one: Alone in the Garden, Touch the Hem, Fountain of the Father, This Old Sinner Testifies

I could honestly do without: He’ll Do It Every Time


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  1. I love this recording. “Between Me And The Storm” is my favorite song of all time. “God’s Building A Church” and “A Little Down Payment” are also way up on my list of favorite songs. “A Good Old Gospel Song” didn’t really do a lot for me.

    To explain the “somewhat forgotten” status of this recording, it is the final one Gold City recorded for the Riversong/Benson label. At that time, Benson was pushing (maybe even forcing) all their artists to go contemporary. Tim refused and took Gold City to Daywind. If memory serves, “God’s Building A Church” was the only radio single released from the recording. When me and a friend (it actually may have been Wes Burke with me) asked Mark Trammell about only releasing one radio single, Mark said something along the lines of, “Right now, Benson wouldn’t help us get elected dog catcher.”

    1. I knew I had read something about that before, maybe on your blog, Brandon. I’d say Gold City made a good move. It’s a shame that, out of all these great songs, only one made it to radio.

      • quartet-man on April 10, 2012 at 10:49 am
      • Reply

      It is a shame that Benson went that direction. We see how that turned out. Sure they had acts like Larnelle that were successful, but looking back at HeartWarming who was one of two of the big SG labels in the sixties into the eighties, and it is sad. HeartWarming did some great stuff that were landmarks.

  2. Due to the circumstances Brandon mentions, this really is a “forgotten”project. I love both “God’s Building A Church” and “Alone In The Garden”. I’m glad it’s ranked high on the list.

  3. This is probably my favorite Gold City project (aside from the collection series, which probably doesn’t count). I even like the song that Brian could do without :). This was top notch quartet singing all-around!

    • Mary on August 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm
    • Reply

    I absolutely love Alone in the Garden. This song alone has tuned me into Gold City. But then again, I am a huge fan of convention music 🙂

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