Liberation Suite faithfully releases an album every decade. Their self-titled debut came out in 1975, followed by Stride for Stride in 1981, Water and Blood in 1992, and Fight For The Light in 2002. Randy Hill (drums, vocals, lyrics) and Howard Lyon (trombone, vocals) were founding members. Jim Hazel (guitars) joined the band on Stride for Stride, James "Doc" Yager (keyboards) came aboard for Water and Blood, and FFTL is the first album for Matt Sutherland (bass, vocals).
The band fittingly has dubbed their sound "Texas Rhythm and Roll," a funky blend of rock, blues, and gospel with hints of jazz and honky tonk, overlaid with seasoned harmonies and thoughtful lyrics. Fight For The Light offers up over an hour of music, starting with a remake of Oh Lord You Know (That I Feel So Fine) from their first album. This version has more of a Jerry Lee Lewis feel, thanks to "Doc" Yager's honky tonk piano sound, but the guitars are still prominent. If this doesn't get your foot tapping and your head bobbing, you may already be dead!
The title track is next, offering a "down home" live feel with a running commentary by vocalist Jim Hazel as band members showcase their bass, trombone, and organ skills. FFTL continues with numerous tasty instrumental solos, but never ignoring the lyrics. There's even some humor, as To Serve Mankind takes a tongue-in-cheek look at our culture's fascination with extra-terrestrials. Besides Fight For The Light and the bluesy arrangement of the traditional Were You There, Randy Hill wrote the rest of the lyrics. He reflects over the years in One Word:
Time rushes by / And I feel out of place / I'm dreaming of the day / We'll meet face to face / Oh God of my youth / Be the Lord of my life / And tear down this veil / That's been clouding my eyes
That honest struggle is countered by the ever-present hope found in Liberation Suite's music, as Tried and True proclaims:
Death holds no fear for me / It's life in disguise / Like waking from a dream / Into a world that never dies
Fight For The Light is for anyone who likes Texas blues, honky-tonk, a little jazz flavor, good guitars, and quality lyrics. If you're an old-timer who heard Liberation Suite back in the day, check out what they're doing now. If you've never heard of them before, this record is a great place to discover a band that offers more substance than most, thanks to their many years of seeking to serve the Lord with their gifts.
Visit: Liberation Suite and order direct.