This is one weird, wacky album. It leads off with an all-star tribute to the aging evangelical preacher Billy Graham
, featuring vocal cameos by a mind-boggling array of artists that includes Bono
, Kenny Rogers
, LeAnn Rimes
, Michael McDonald
, and dc Talk
, among others. The song itself is as overblown as you'd expect, but also afflicted by a rather thin, frantic production sound. The remainder of the album consists of gospel recordings made in the mid-'80s; the recordings were never released and the master tapes were eventually lost, but then they turned up in the attic of producer Ray Ruff. Ruff and Boone
decided to clean them up and put them out as a celebration of Boone's five decades of hitmaking. The result is intermittently fun and befuddling. "Come and Take Me Home" and "Bread Upon the Waters" both rock out nicely, but the sound quality is still thin and brittle and there are tuning problems that should have been caught and repaired in the studio. More effective are a great, rollicking version of "Night Train" and the Stax/Volt-influenced "It Took a Carpenter," but to get to those gems you have to wade through the schlocky "New Kentucky Home" and the unremarkable "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Boone has been a punchline for far too long, and deserves much more respect than he typically gets these days. But despite several fine and inspired moments, this album isn't going to do the trick.