While in Value Village in Owen Sound recently, I saw and picked up ODYSSEY by The Torchmen Quartet. It was released circa 2000/1 on Tradition Records. On this CD the group’s roster is as follows: Mir and Jim Callahan, Mike Moran, Stan Oster, Michael Helwig, and Jon Hisey. Mir traveled with the group doing sign language for the hearing impaired. ODYSSEY was produced by group members Mike Moran and Jon Hisey. Musicians used include: Gary Prim, Bob Doidge, and Terry McMillan.
‘No One But Jesus Knows’ starts things off. It is a slow doo-wop number that praises Jesus: “When I’m burdened down with care/When my load is hard to bear/How He takes away my burden/No one but Jesus knows/All discouraged, so sad and blue/I go to Jesus, He’ll see me through/How He thrills my broken spirit/No one but Jesus knows”. Group member Jon Hisey wrote ‘He’s Been There Done That’. It is a country tune that testifies of Christ: “He’s been there, done that/Nothing He can’t see you through/He’s been there, done that/He’s waiting now for you/He’s been there, done that/Cast your every care upon Him/He’ll see you through, I know it’s true/Cause I’ve been there, done that”.
The classic hymn ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ is performed traditionally. It speaks of Christ’s limitless value: “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold/I’d rather be His than have riches untold/I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands/I’d rather be led by His nail scarred hands/Than to be the king of a vast domain/Or be held in sin’s dread sway/I’d rather have Jesus than anything/This world affords today”. ‘The Day He Wore My Crown’ is a moving ballad: “He gave me love only He could give, I gave Him cause to cry/And though He taught me how to live, I taught Him how to die/I’m the one to blame, I caused all the pain/He gave Himself that day He wore my crown/He could have called to His heavenly Father/And said ‘Take me away, please take me away’/He could have said ‘I’m not guilty, and I’m not gonna stay, I’m not gonna pay’”.
Next up are two back to back Richard Ash compositions. ‘I’ve Been There’ includes this chorus of testimony: “I’ve been to Calvary’s hill where an old rugged cross still stands/And I found what this whole world was missing in two nail scarred hands/He forgave what I’d done/And He gave me a joy beyond compare/And a river of grace still flows from Calvary/I know cause I’ve been there”. ‘City in the Sky’ is a short, upbeat Southern Gospel song anticipating eternity: “I’m bound for a heavenly home/It’s a city in the sky/I can hardly wait till I reach that gate/See the glory that awaits inside/When I get to the beautiful City, I’ll lay my heavy burden down/In the City in the sky, by and by/I’ll be living on holy ground”.
‘Written in Red’ is a beautiful, sentimental ballad penned by Gordon Jensen: “Down through the ages God wrote His love/With the same hands that suffered and bled/Giving all that He had to give/A message so easily read/I love you, I love you/That’s what Calvary said/I love you, I love you/I love you written in red”. ‘I’m Gonna Rise’ is a spunky country tune: “Darwin’s gonna wonder if something’s amiss/When he tries to figure out how I evolved to this/And Newton’s gonna question his laws of gravity/When he takes a look around and finds it don’t apply to me.../Well, now you can have Huxley, Herman, Hess, and Socrates/You can have all the human knowledge of the world’s philosophies/You know that I’ve found a higher law that’s workin’ in me/For He works in the spirit and He set my mind free”.
‘Faith Unlocks the Door’ goes way back and begins with these familiar words: “Prayer is the key to Heaven but faith unlocks the door/Words are so easily spoken/Prayer without faith is like a boat without an oar/Have faith when you speak to the Master/That’s all He’ll ask you for/Yes, prayer is the key to Heaven/But faith unlocks the door”. ‘Going Home’ is an emotional ballad written by Bill and Gloria Gaither: “Now the twilight, oh it’s fading/The day soon it shall end/Lord I get homesick the farther I go/Oh, but the Father, He has led me/Each step of the way/And now I’m going home/Going home, I’m going home/There is nothing to hold me here/I’ve caught a glimpse of that heavenly Land/Praise God, I am going home!”
‘Follow Me’ is the easy listening song of one sincerely desiring to help others: “Searching for peace and answers/I longed to tell them where they’re found/Follow me and I’ll take you to my Father/And on the way, we’ll stop by at a rugged cross/Follow me and I’ll lead you to contentment/Follow me and I’ll take you where/You’ll never be alone”. ‘I Love You Canada’ is of course patriotic: “I see your beauty/Every morning when the sun comes shining through/I’ve seen countless sights like northern lights/You’re an old friend tried and true/And in years from now/I’ll remember how I was proud to take a stand/I love you Canada/My home and native land!”
ODYSSEY, it turns out, is one of my favourite Torchmen albums. The vocals are simply great! The lyrics point directly to Jesus Christ and the hope that we have in this life and the next because of what He accomplished at Calvary. For the most part this is a mellow, reverent, meditative album. It is one you will not tire of. I’m rating ODYSSEY 100%. For more info visit: www.torchqt.com.