you, sir, are no Andy Griffith

I Surrender All--30 Classic Hymns (Sparrow)

By Robert Gruber

With his clunky dance steps, Vegas-suave appearance and chameleon-like approach to musicality, Carman makes an easy target for scorn amongst the hipper-than-thou in Christian music. Give the man credit, though -- he does it all for the Lord, and with a plate full of concert dates, recordings, video movies and his own TBN variety show for young people ("Time2"), the C-man may well be the busiest hombre in gospel showbiz. His appeal ranges from the very young to the very middle-aged, and now, with this collection of classic hymns to his credit, Carman has crossed that bridge to become fun for the whole family.

No matter what genre of music he traffics in, be it rap, rock, country, whatever, Carman develops his own feel for it. Such is the case here, as his steady baritone custom-wraps around such timeless classics as "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms," "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" and "His Name is Wonderful." Although I could do without Carman's dramatic reading of "inspirational" passages in songs, his true fans love this from him and he knows it -- hence, they are there. Guest appearances by Terry McMillan, Michael English and Mr. Chet Atkins add flavor to these rather straight renderings, most of which are worked into three- and four-song medleys. He's no Andy Griffith, but Carman's sincere love for God is apparent, and ultimately, that's what makes I Surrender All succeed.