- Released: May 15, 1992
- Label: Word Entertainment
Musician - 8/92, p.90
"...their acappella arrangements are as distinctive as they are dramatic. But it's the vocal virtuosity crackling throughout that makes this recording such a find....these four singers have been blessed with a sound that must be heard to be believed..."
Jazziz - Dec.-Jan./92, p.95
Included as one of the "10 best albums of 1992."
Stereophile (2/93, p.213) - "...some of the smoothest, clearest, most stirring unaccompanied modern gospel I've ever heard...[their] easy, totally unforced emsemble telepathy is truly something to sit back and behold..."
- 1.Tree of Level
- 2.My God Called Me This Morning
- 3.Children Go Where I Send Thee
- 4.Born Again
- 5.Keep Me Near the Cross (Servant's Prayer)
- 6.Roll Jordan Roll
- 7.Standing in the Safety Zone
- 8.Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
- 9.Last Month of the Year (What Month Was Jesus Born in)
- 10.How I Got Over
- 11.Dig a Little Deeper
The Fairfield Four: W.L. Richardson, Walter Settles, Wilson Waters, Isaac Freeman, James Hill (vocals).
Additional personnel: Samuel H. McCrary, Edward Thomas (vocals).
The Nashville Bluegrass Band: Stuart Duncan, Pat Enright, Gene Libbea, Alan O'Bryant, Roland White (vocals).
Recorded at The Loft and Music Row Audio, Nashville, Tennessee from December 1991 to February 1992.
Throughout the '30s and '40s, African-American gospel music experienced a period of tremendous popularity and creativity. This era marked the heyday of such greats as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, the Golden Gate Quartet, the Dixie Hummingbird's, and Nashville's Fairfield Four. Work grew scarce in the post-war years, however, and the Fairfield Four were among those who opted out of the music business in the early '50s. A 1980 reunion concert generated renewed interest in the group, allowing the singers to pick up where they had left off 30 years earlier.
The Fairfield Four truly regained national status, however, with STANDING IN THE SAFETY ZONE, a disc produced by the Country Music Foundation in 1992. Major-label support and an impeccable selection of material make this album an all-around winner. All but one track here are performed a cappella, and the stunning performances are a rare combination of assets-virtuosic and impassioned yet tasteful and restrained. The Fairfield Four even manage to mix whimsy in with the serious religion by asking the musical question "(What Month Was Jesus Born in?) Last Month of the Year." This is the place to begin your Fairfield Four collection.