CD Rated: Called Out Quartet (Can’t Make It By Myself)

Artist: Called Out Quartet
Title: Can’t Make It By Myself
3 1/2 Stars

Nutshell Analysis: An upgraded version of “I Just Can’t Make It By Myself” with a pounding bass line to contrast the brief a cappella “no, no, no, no, no” line is one of the highlights on this CD. Bass singer Von Gaines is hitting his notes more confidently and staying in a comfortable singing range this time around, “When We Hear Him Say Well Done” being just one example. “And The Rain Came” has a jazz influenced feel that leads into the next cut nicely. The song that follows has one of those arranging choices that just makes sense…putting a soulful touch on “Way Down Deep In My Soul.” My only major criticism of Can’t Make It By Myself is that the vocals tend to waver a bit too much on sustained chords and don’t always sustain to an ideal cutoff point, especially on song endings. This is particularly noticeable when the vocals cut out before the instruments. The problem can be corrected in a couple of ways…develop a greater ability to sustain and blend notes through better supported breathing, or come up with creative vocal arrangements that avoid solid, long chords on the ends of songs. I recommend the former. That observation aside, Can’t Make It By Myself represents a strong step up in quality over last year’s release, Happy Rhythms…better song selection and better arrangements both in terms of vocals and instrumentation. If Called Out Quartet continues to improve at this pace, we could be looking at a very strong contender in another year or two.

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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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