CD Review: The Blackwood Brothers Quartet – “Classics: Volume One”

CD Review: The Blackwood Brothers Quartet – “Classics: Volume One”

bbqclassicsClassics: Volume One
Produced by Trey Ivey
Daywind Records
www.blackwoodbrothers.com
Format: CD & Digital

Tune-O-Meter: Medium-High

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)

SONG TITLES: I’d Rather Have Jesus (George Beverly Shea/Rhea Miller) – He Touched Me (William J. Gaither) – If That Isn’t Love (Dottie Rambo) – Who Am I (Charles Goodman) – The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power (Andrae Crouch) – Without Him (Mylon LeFevre) – Sweet Beulah Land (Squire Parsons) – What A Day That Will Be (James Hill) – The Eastern Gate (Isaiah G. Martin) – The Love of God (Frederick Lehman)

Since their re-emergence in recent years with Billy Blackwood at the helm, the Blackwood Brothers Quartet have remained a steady, consistent group on the SG circuit. Their last label release, Forever, saw them team up with Ricky Free and Trey Ivey as producers with a modern (albeit traditional) sound. This time around, however, they are scaling back to just a piano and vocals (produced again by Trey Ivey) and tackling well-known gospel music classics.

The vocals here are well done.Each member gets multiple features, and no one is singing too far out of their range, creating a solid (if somewhat TOO good) blend. For the most part, the singers stick to the written melody.

As far as song selection, I wish they would’ve picked a few up-tempo numbers to add a bit of variety. With the exception of “The Eastern Gate,” which more mid-tempo, all of the songs are ballads, and with only a piano and vocals to carry the songs, I felt that several of them kinda ran together. That’s not to say that the arrangements are not well-done; I just would’ve preferred more diversity.

That being said, the stand-out tracks here include “If That Isn’t Love” and “Sweet Beulah Land,” both led by Wayne Little on tenor, and “The Love Of God,” which features Michael Helwig’s dynamic lead vocal. I like how they merge the traditional hymn with the Vep Ellis composition, something that I haven’t heard too many artists do.

From a technical standpoint, the piano/vocals idea presents a bit of a problem in modern mixing techniques. While full instrumentation can cover up some mixing flaws, a piano can only hide so much; as a result, there are some points in the recording where the compression on the vocals wound up embellishing some engineering punches and edits. I probably would’ve taken a little more time to edit those out, but maybe it was an artistic choice, being somewhat of a throw-back album.

If you’re looking for more variety, there’s not much of that here, but if you enjoy classic songs with a straight-ahead sound, then this aptly-named CD should work out just fine for you

Overall Rating
3.5 out of 5

3.5

Average
3.5 out of 5

Kyle Boreing

<p>Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a gospel music soloist, occasional quartet singer, and church music director who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with artists such as Mercy’s Mark, the Dove Brothers Band, and The Oak Ridge Boys.</p> <p>Visit his website at www.kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.</p>

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1 Comment

  1. scottysearan
    Reply June 13, 09:25 #1 scottysearan

    I like projects like this.
    We need more projects like this, with maybe a little more instrumentation.
    Though I feel SGM for the most part is overly embellished with instrumentation and too much technicalities
    I personally like the days back in the 60’s and 70’s when you heard some of the flaws. That makes it sound more humanistic.
    The choice of songs were good, but as you said they should have included a few more uptempos..
    Blackwoods keep putting projects like this out, and just maybe some of the other groups may follow.
    SGM fpr the most part has got too progressive for me.




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