CD Review: Called Out Quartet (Happy Rhythms)

RATING: 3 Stars

Label: Morningstar Records
Producers: Eddie Crook and Scott Russell

Song Titles: “Campmeeting Medley,” “Gettin’ Ready To Go,” “Gloryland Way,” “Happy Rhythm,” “Heaven’s Jubilee,” “In Just A Little While,” “Look For Me In Gloryland,” “Meet Me There,” “Wait Upon The Lord,” and “Watch What My God Can Do”

It’s always interesting to review a recording by a group I haven’t heard previously. Before I listened to Happy Rhythms by the Called Out Quartet, I glanced over the list of songwriters and noted that whoever selected the tracks for this CD must be a huge fan of the 1990s era Palmetto State Quartet. Five of the ten tunes are written/arranged by Woody Beatty, Harold Gilley, and/or Brion Carter.

A simple piano introduces “Campmeeting Medley” as each vocalist sings a slow line from “Uncloudy Day.” Then a basic accompaniment of guitar, bass, piano and drums kicks in for the chorus which leads into “I’ll Live In Glory.” A convention style chorus comes in at the end. I wish I could hear this group sing “Gettin’ Ready To Go” with bluegrass instrumentation rather than the generic Southern Gospel rhythmic approach they chose. I think it would suit this group’s slightly nasal vocal tone better.

“Gloryland Way” uses the same arrangement as PSQ’s original, allowing tenor Marty Harris to hit some high notes. “Happy Rhythm” was a good song to name the CD after. It’s a good arrangement that goes fairly well until the key change forces bass singer Von Gaines to go lower than his comfortable range. Stepping up a half step rather than dropping a fifth would have been preferable. “Heaven’s Jubilee” is good vocally. The accompaniment suffers from fake brass stabs, though. (I don’t know why producers think some of these keyboard patches are acceptable. It’s OK to fake it if you have a convincing patch, but when it sounds like it came from a $100 Casio from Wal-mart, just say “No!”)

The rest of Happy Rhythms is in a similar vein…some shaded vocal pitches here and there, but nothing noticeably offensive to the ear…vocals generally mixed too loud…a basic, “low budget” level studio accompaniment…nothing particularly unique, but nothing particularly bad either…adequate cover songs, but too many from the same artist…some pacing issues. The CD generally got better as it went along with “Campmeeting Medley” being the weakest cut and “Wait Upon The Lord” being the best. The weakest track shouldn’t be first. Also, better arranging to suit the strengths of the individual singers would have been an improvement in spots.

On a positive note, Called Out Quartet has a good overall vocal blend, and their tenor goes into the rafters in a couple of spots. These guys aren’t quite ready to appear on a Gaither Homecoming video yet, but most regional level quartets would be happy to have a project with this level of quality on their table.

by David Bruce Murray

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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 and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply May 16, 12:07 #1 Anonymous

    i can honestly tell you that when you hear the group in person, it is a much better blend and sound than the project can give you. it is a new group that is going places. thank you for the review but make sure you hear them in person and don’t judge by a project. things do happen. The group is a great group, and is well on their way to whatever God has in store for them and where they would like to go. check out the website for a listing of where they will be. i am an avid fan as you can see.
    they are the greatest, go see for yourself.
    God Bless….

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