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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Free at Last (1992)

Updated: Aug 27, 2023


Free at Last is the third studio album by the Christian vocal trio DC Talk, released on November 18, 1992 by ForeFront Records.


After the success of their 1990 album Nu Thang, Free at Last would prove to be an even bigger album for the trio. CCM Magazine ranked this album in the Top 10 at number 9 from their 2001 book The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. The success of the album is attributed to the group moving away from a strictly rap sound to a blend of hip hop and pop. The album features two cover songs: "Jesus Is Just Alright" (made popular by The Doobie Brothers in 1972) was the lead single for Christian CHR and made the Top 5 climbing to number 2 and Bill Wither's 1972 classic "Lean On Me" (#1 Billboard Hot 100 and #1 R&B), but done in the style of R&B group Club Nouveau's 1987 version (#1 Billboard Hot 100 and #2 R&B). DC Talk's version made their first appearance on the Christian AC chart (a radio edit taking away Toby's rap verses and featuring just Michael and Kevin's vocals) and peaking at number 7.


Free at Last topped the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart, giving DC Talk their first number one album and would stay there for 34 weeks throughout 1993. It was certified Platinum selling over one million copies by 1995. In 1994, the group won their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album for Free at Last at the 36th Grammy Awards and at the Dove Awards, they won in the song categories: "Socially Acceptable" for Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year and "Jesus Is Just Alright" for Rock Recorded Song of the Year at the 25th GMA Dove Awards and in 1995 won Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year for "Luv Is A Verb" at the 26th GMA Dove Awards. Michael Sweet of the Christian hard rock band Stryper provides guest vocals on the song "Time Is..."


DC Talk released a VHS called Narrow is the Road in 1994 which is an inside look at the life on the road with the trio on their Free at Last World Tour and also features their music videos, live performances and their accolades such as their Grammy and Dove Awards and their gold certified albums. It was filmed in 35 cities and (at the time) served as a prelude to their long-delayed documentary film Free at Last - The Movie.


Track listing


1. Luv Is A Verb (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann, George Cocchini) -4:15

2. That Kind of Girl (Toby McKeehan) -4:12

3. Greer -0:21

4. Jesus Is Just Alright (Arthur Reid Reynolds) -4:37

5. Say the Words (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann) -5:00

6. WDCT -0:44

7. Socially Acceptable (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann) -4:56

8. Free at Last (Toby McKeehan, Joe Hogue) -4:56

9. Time Is... (featuring Michael Sweet) (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann, George Cocchini) -4:10

10. The Hardway (Toby McKeehan) -5:18

11. 2 Honks & a Negro -0:18

12. Lean On Me (Bill Withers) -5:00

13. Testimony -0:43

14. I Don't Want It (Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max) -4:13

15.Will Power -0:14

16. Word 2 The Father (Toby McKeehan) -4:02

17. Jesus Is Just Alright (reprise) -1:03


Personnel


Toby McKeehan -rap, lead and backing vocals

Michael Tait -lead and backing vocals

Kevin Max -lead and backing vocals


Production credits


Toby McKeehan -producer (all tracks including the interludes)

Mark Heimermann -producer (tracks 1, 3–7, 9, 10, 11, 13–17)

Joe Hogue -producer (tracks 2, 8 and 12)


Platinum certified in 1995.


Accolades

Grammy Award -Best Rock Gospel Album (Free at Last)

Dove Award -1994 Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year ("Socially Acceptable")

1994 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Jesus Is Just Alright") 1995 Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year ("Luv Is A

Verb")


Radio singles

"Jesus Is Just Alright" -#2 Christian CHR

"Socially Acceptable" -#1 Christian CHR

"Time Is..." -#12 Christian CHR

"Lean On Me" -#1 Christian CHR, #7 Christian AC

"The Hardway" -#1 Christian CHR, #25 Christian AC

"Say the Words" -#2 Christian CHR

"Luv Is A Verb" -#15 Christian CHR


Previous release: Nu Thang (1990)


In 2002, a 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Free at Last was released and in some editions a DVD of the unfinished documentary Free at Last - The Movie to accompany it. The Special Edition contains a revisited version of "The Hardway" which was produced by Matt Bronleewe and look back tracks.


Track listing on the 10th Anniversary Special Edition


18. The Hardway (Revisited) -4:40

19. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back intro) -0:37

20. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -Luv Is A Verb) -2:38

21. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -Socially Acceptable) -2:29

22. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -The Hardway) -2:13

23. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -Lean On Me) -2:01

24. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -Say the Words) -1:02

25. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -High Top Fad) -1:17

26. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Interview Track 8) -1:15

27. Free at Last 10th Anniversary Interview (Look Back -Joey Outro) -0:38


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