CD Review: Kingsmen (Good Good God)

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars

Label: Horizon
Producer: Roger Talley
Vocal Production Assistant: Tim Surrett
Website: www.kingsmenquartet.com

Song Titles: “He’s A Good, Good God,” “God Can Save Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime,” “Finished Indeed,” “Jesus Knows My Name,” “A Story That Shall Never Die,” “I Found Mercy,” “Longing To Go There,” “Don’t Look At The Water,” and “To Count For Jesus”

I was so impressed the first time I heard the first two tracks of Good Good God that I went so far as to say that the Kingsmen had the potential to top Brian Free/Assurance‘s It’s So God for the best CD release of 2006. Well, I’ve heard the entire CD now, and it’s not quite there, but very, very close.

I’m still not completely sure if it’s a genuine Jew’s harp or a sound generated by a synthesizer I’m hearing droning on “God Can Save Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime,” but whatever…it’s a cool effect. (Producer Roger Talley is credited for “keyboards,” while no one is credited for playing the Jew’s harp, so maybe the answer is right there in the liner notes.) The novelty of this track should make it an immediate choice for a first radio single. Baritone Tony Peace does a great job selling the lyric, but it’s the driving energy of the track and details like sudden stops when the group sings, “Mmm hmm,” that really makes the song stand out.

Let’s talk about the rest of the CD…the opening “Good, Good God” is a more typical mid-tempo quartet track, punctuated by piano and guitar fills with an occasional wail from a harmonica. “Finished Indeed” allows lead singer Phillip Hughes to shine. Hughes ranges into low tenor territory with a slightly pinched nasal quality in his upper register. In this instance, I’m using the word “nasal” in a descriptive way…not derogatory. Hughes has a good handle on his tone quality and uses it to great effect. The tempo picks up again for “Jesus Knows My Name” with some interesting chord changes and fiddle fills.

“A Story That Shall Never Die” is a solid tune with a good lyric. Jeremy Peace takes it up a notch for the last chorus and tag. Speaking of J. Peace, “I Found Mercy” provides him with an opportunity to take his time and interpret a lyric. It’s the best I’ve heard him sing since he’s been with the group. The tune provides a great contrast to the uptempo energy of most of the other selections. Next, a blues piano intro sets up T. Peace for a slow solo intro to “Longing To Go There.” This gives way to a mid-tempo groove that seems to be gradually building to a climax over the course of the song, but it never quite delivers. A Junior Brown inspired guitar intro leads into another tune featuring T. Peace titled “Don’t Look At The Water.” The CD closes out on a contrasting note with the vocalists singing first in unison and then in smooth harmony over slow piano and strings. Ray Reese finally gets a solo on the second verse, his only solo on Good Good God…nice ending track.

This CD is put together with the typical Kingsmen fan in mind, but a track like “God Can Save Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime” also has the potential to attract new fans. Drop “Longing To Go There” and replace it with another song or two of “God Can Save Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime” caliber, and we’d be talking about the best recording of the year. As it is, I rank it at number three behind BF&A’s It’s So God and the five-star Hymns by Mercy’s Well. That ain’t shabby. It’s definitely the best Kingmen CD in several years, on par with 1999’s Shelter.

Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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  1. Anonymous
    Reply September 24, 09:24 #1 Anonymous

    I would agree with this review until I heard Gold City’s Revival. It is the best of the year.




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