Though Barbara Mandrell retired from performing and recording in 1997, the country superstar remains beloved. In 2022, she made a rare public appearance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her induction into the Grand Ole Opry; an all-female lineup of artists including Carrie Underwood, Suzy Bogguss, Linda Davis, Connie Smith, Mandy Barnett, and CeCe Winans paid tribute. Mandrell offered her warm appreciation but did not sing; for the past 25 years, she's restricted any singing activities to church. Though much of her catalogue arrived on digital services in recent years, physical releases have been few and far between; notable exceptions include UMe's 2020 release After All These Years: The Collection and Real Gone Music's 2016 This Time I Almost Made It: The Lost Columbia Masters.
On March 15, Gaither Music Group and Capitol Christian will reissue Mandrell's 1989 album Precious Memories: 20 Hymns and Gospel Classics on CD, while the album (now adorned with new cover art) is also promised to make its digital debut. The double-record set was originally issued by the mail-order Heartland Music label, and heavily promoted on radio and television at the time. It was produced by Barbara's longtime collaborator Tom Collins who had helmed 19 albums and such hits for her as "Standing Room Only," "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed," "Years," and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool."
Precious Memories was an album close to the singer's heart as her second LP of gospel recordings following 1982's He Set My Life to Music. Recording at Nashville's Groundstar Laboratories, she was accompanied by such key players as "Nashville cat" David Briggs, Toto's David Hungate, the TCB Band's David Ogdin, Steppenwolf's Larry Byrom, and producer-arranger Shane Keister on the collection of 20 inspirational favorites, all rendered by Mandrell in heartfelt style. Tracks included "The Old Rugged Cross," "Peace in the Valley," "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," "Farther Along," and the title song.
Mandrell comments in the press release, "When I recorded this album in 1989, I chose a group of songs that I grew up listening to and singing. They are songs that I still cherish to this day. It's an honor and thrill to think that 35 years later, this music will have the opportunity to touch a new generation of fans. I'm so thankful the folks at Gaither believe in this record as much today as I did back then."
Barbara went on to record five more studio albums, culminating in 1994's It Works for Me. (Like Precious Memories, both It Works for Me and its immediate predecessor Acoustic Attitude were sold via mail order.) 1990's Morning Sun proved to be the final full-length collaboration between the singer and producer Collins.
Lead single "Where Could I Go (But to the Lord)" is streaming now. Barbara Mandrell's Precious Memories: 20 Hymns and Gospel Classics returns to CD and premieres digitally from Gaither Music Group on March 15. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
- I Love To Tell The Story
- Old Rugged Cross
- Farther Along
- Power In The Blood
- Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior
- Just A Little Talk With Jesus
- I Need Thee Every Hour
- Peace In The Valley
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee
- He Keeps Me Singing
- Have Thine Own Way Lord
- It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)
- Softly And Tenderly
- When We All Get To Heaven
- Sweet Hour Of Prayer
- In The Garden
- Where Could I Go (But To The Lord)
- Let Me Live
- Blessed Assurance
- Precious Memories