Devoting an entire album to gospel songs wasn't a bad idea for Acuff, though coming in the same year as an Acuff album of folk songs (1963's Sings American Folk Songs), it seemed to indicate that the country legend was latching onto broad concepts in order to expedite spinning out multiple albums within a small time frame. Traditional numbers are mixed with compositions credited to Hank Williams, Walter Bailes, and Frankie Bailes, and others; Acuff himself has just one co-writing credit. It differs from some of his other Hickory output -- Sings American Folk Songs, for instance -- in its use of robust backing vocals, though the core instrumentation remains no-frills traditional country (albeit with gentle honky tonk piano). It's not such a fine listen, however, mostly because so many of the songs share similar brisk, hand-clapping rhythms and melodies. That gets to be particularly troublesome when, say, "Build Me a Cabin in Gloryland" is immediately followed by "That Glory Bound Train," the quick repetition of promised glory excessive enough to make heathens out of potential converts. Less cheekily, the similarity between tracks does threaten to cross over to monotony, and casual listeners might sometimes catch themselves wondering if they've just heard the track playing only a minute or two ago. So it's not recommended to anyone but major Acuff fans, but if you are building a deep Acuff collection, you might want to get it on the 2004 Ace CD reissue that combines this and Sings American Folk Songs onto one disc. ~ Richie Unterberger
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