DVD Review: Personal (Kim Collingsworth)

Rating: 5 (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 3.9 (of 5) (or 4.3 of 5 without the love songs)

Producer: Tracks produced by Wayne Haun, Roger Talley, Jeff Collins, & Milton Smith. Executive Producer: Phil Collingsworth.

Filming Director: David Brainard.

Song List: And Can it Be; The Lord’s Prayer; Joshua Fit ‘De Battle; Love Me Tender; Unforgettable; Misty; He Set Me Free / Blood Washed Band; God’s Family (Keaton Family); When The Flowers Bloom Up in Heaven (Kim’s parents); Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Keaton Family); Goodbye World, Goodbye; Great is Thy Faithfulness / The Old Rugged Cross; I’ll Fly Away; When They Ring Those Golden Bells; A Mighty Fortress; Hallelujah Chorus (from Handel’s Messiah).

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Personal, Kim Collingsworth’s first piano solo DVD, was recorded on the same night that the Collingsworth Family recorded Your Ticket to Music Hall.

Often, when a group records two DVDs on the same night, the DVDs have a similar feel. The groups will often wear the same suits and ties, and even if they change, the stage setup will typically be similar if not identical from video to video. But as I remarked in my review of the group DVD, the group seems to be masters of the craft of staging a live concert, and Personal has an entirely different feel. The plants are arranged differently, Collingsworth wears a different outfit, and the grand piano is front and center.

The film starts with a biographical introduction showing video footage from the church where Kim Collingsworth learned to play piano. Phil and Kim Collingsworth trade off on the narrative (a story explained in much greater detail in the extras). After the biographical intro, the scene shifts to Cincinnati’s Music Hall, where Kim walks on stage and plays a trio of her best piano solos, “And Can it Be,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” and “Joshua Fit ‘De Battle.”

She then plays three songs, “Love Me Tender,” “Unforgettable,” and “Misty.” Video footage includes a montage of photos showing Kim as she group up and Phil and Kim in the early years of their marriage.

After an uptempo Southern Gospel medley (“He Set Me Free / Blood Washed Band”), Kim’s family comes on stage. Her parents and seven of her eight siblings sing “God’s Family” together in full harmony. If there was any doubt where Kim got her musical genes, that is settled when her parents do a duet on “When the Flowers Bloom Up in Heaven.” Though their voices show their age, they also show signs of what they must have sounded like at their peak. After another song by the family (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”), the spotlight is on Kim on the piano for the rest of the evening.

After a few more piano solos, including an impromptu medley of requested songs, the program closes with a rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” with a fully produced soundtrack recorded specifically for the occasion.

Both Personal and Your Ticket to Music City are accompanied by audio CDs with and virtually all the talking cut out. This focus on the songs works well in the CD format, just as leaving the talking in on the DVD helps capture the experience of the live concert better.

Interestingly, Collingsworth recorded the entire program without playing either of her most recognizable signature songs, “How Great Thou Art” or “It is Well.” She had played “It is Well” as her piano solo during the group taping earlier in the night, but the omission of “How Great Thou Art” is interesting. If nothing else, it shows that Collingsworth can turn in a strong solo concert without her “sugar sticks”—no small feat.

The video has extensive extras, including conversations Kim had with her parents and with her brothers and sisters. The extras, and the excerpts that make it onto the program, are detailed enough that even those that have followed the family closely since their national debut will find new tidbits and fascinating stories.

Personal is a fascinating and stirring introduction to Kim Collingsworth’s life and music.