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Music Review: What A Beautiful Name by Various Artists

Updated June 13, 2018
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An inspirational faith-building collecton of the very best songs of worship recorded at live events by an array of outstanding worship leaders. This is the...Best of British Live Worship.

This is the third release in the excellent 'Best Of British Live Worship' series. Featuring worship leaders from around the world including Tim Hughes, Worship Central, Cathy Burton, Lou Fellingham and Pete James.

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What A Beautiful Name by Various
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Personal Rating 
In years gone by I have to confess that I haven't really given these compilation albums the time of day. Maybe I'm getting older and maturing, but these days I actually look forward to some of these types of releases. As a reviewer it's nice to have something familiar to listen to and even, dare I say, sing along too! So this is a fairly familiar outing from Elevation featuring live worship from some of the UK's biggest Christian worship events.

This is the third (I think) album featuring 'The Best of British Live Worship', the first was "Build Your Kingdom Here" featuring the Angel of the North on the cover, then there was "Lion and the Lamb" which had Tower Bridge and now this collection which features a lovely shot of Windsor Castle. It's a good, solid British institution and we have some of those featured on the album too, worship leaders like Tim Hughes with his song "Holding Nothing Back" which is quite different to the original recording, especially the intro! Other worship leaders that are the staple of these releases are also featured like Nick Herbert, Cathy Burton and Lou Fellingham. Alongside these very established worship leaders are people like Trent, Sound of Wales, Emu Music and more who may not be as familiar to you as the previous names.

This means that there is a lot of variety throughout these 30 tracks, although musically a lot of the tracks are the expected and accepted worship style.  There is some variation, for example Josh Gauton's version of Worship Central's "Mercy Road" which is nicely different to many of the others captured here.  There are some interesting more recent songs and also some older worship classics which generally makes for an interesting mix. Unless you are avidly buying worship music there is a good chance that some of these songs may not already be in your collection, but you've quite possibly sung them somewhere. Songs like "One Thing Remains" (2010) covered here by Trent is on this collection, but also a version of Martin Smith's intimate "Thank You For Saving Me" (1993) sung by Colin Webster. There are a few tracks from 2017, but this is really quite a good selection and sweep of the past 3 decades of worship music writing.

Of course these days it is very possible to put together your own worship playlist featuring the original recordings of these songs, so why purchase a compilation of what are essentially 'live' cover songs? Well, as we have established there are some excellent artists on this album, you're not getting a second rate knock-off of the song. Secondly these are live worship events, and the live nature means that there are new arrangements of some familiar tracks, but also the live element often brings in a more congregational feel to the tracks. Finally there are 30 tracks here for, at most, £12.99. Building your own playlist of music you own is going to cost you more whichever way you do it... with all the albums that the original tracks come from or buying individual tracks on iTunes, this represents excellent value - as long as there are enough songs on these two discs that you want to own.

Personally I really enjoyed this album. It could so easily be a bit of a let down with the same songs, but the selection here is really good and very enjoyable across both discs!

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