119. Priority – The Imperials
Life is not fair!
Every child has heard that said countless times by a coach, friend and parent. One obvious proof of this is the vocal instrument God gave to Russ Taff as it compares to nearly everyone else that has walked the face of the earth!
With priority, Russ Taff makes his swan song with the famed Imperials and does so with a bang. Quite frankly there is not a bad song among the lot. Great pop and soulful rockers and soaring and inspirational ballads. all of it, though, rests in the capable vocal chords of Taff.
The album kicks off with the true classic, Trumpet of Jesus. Seriously it just unfair what Taff can do and it is never more painfully obvious than on this anthem. Great horn section, killer backing vocals and huge wall of sound production that was a scarce commodity at the time.
The album does slip at times when Taff does not command the lead vocal responsibility, though, to be honest, it is only noticeable because of his presence. One great stand out song not headed up by Taff is “I’d rather Believe In You.”
When Taff takes on ballads, the most subdued simplicity is just stunning. This is most notable on Be Still My Soul. The groups harmonies set against Taff’s most subtle passion works perfectly.
The best of the Taff lead Imperial albums also marks his last. It also marks the very best in the groups long and heralded career. Following albums would always suffer from Taff’s leaving though many great vocalists would follow, they simply did not measure up and the band also refused to change with the times. But even 30 years later, this album rings true.