Take 2 Review: “The One In The Water” – The Inspirations

Take 2 Review: “The One In The Water” – The Inspirations

The One In The Water (The Inspirations)Take 2 Reviews are a chance for other contributors to MusicScribe to add their own thoughts to an album previously reviewed on the site. With this initial entry, Kyle Boreing will be taking a look at the most recent Inspirations album, previously reviewed by Daniel Mount.

I will admit, I’m one of the first to advocate a more progressive style in SG music (to a point). Whenever a southern gospel artist pushes the boundaries and challenges the status quo stylistically, I usually give them kudos for trying, even if the result isn’t always 100%. That being said, there is just something absolutely enjoyable about listening to an Inspirations album.

Despite quite a bit of turnover in the last few years, the Inspirations have remained one of the most consistent groups in SG music since their inception back in the 1960’s. They found a niche with their “mountain gospel” sound, and they have stuck very close to that style, even as some other artists have evolved over time. The One In The Water, as Daniel stated, is like stepping into a time machine back to 1972, in more ways than one (I’ll let Daniel explain it in his original take review). The return of members Marlin Schubert, Eddie Dietz, and especially Archie Watkins, have returned a bit of a signature sound to the group that has been slightly lacking in recent years, while Matt Dibler fits right in with these veterans.

The song selection is also what you’d expect from the group. Upbeat hand-clappers and mellow ballads abound with classic mountain quartet sounds. There are a couple surprises, however. “Teaching Me To Fly” is a bit of a departure stylistically, and with a little more instrumentation, would be right at home on a Booth Brothers album. This would be a good choice for a second single. The title track is likewise a great choice for a single, as it features Watkins and would serve to re-introduce listeners to the “classic” sound.

I’m not a huge fan of when SG goes political, as it can very easily go cheesy, which is what happens with “We Are Christians.” I’m not discounting the message, but writing such a song is difficult, and it comes across a bit clunky. “Jesus They’re Offended At Your Name” fairs a little better, as it’s a bit more creative (think “Oh Buddha” by the Imperials), but again, slightly rough.

Production wise, Jeff Collins duplicates the Inspirations sound incredibly close by using a simple 3-piece band consisting of piano, acoustic stand-up bass, and acoustic guitar (with some filler instruments as needed). My only complaint (as usual) is the over-use of auto-tune on the vocals. With a group that is known for it’s older-style sound (and with the instrumentation to back it up), one would think that a little less digital editing would be ok in this instance.

Overall, I found this to be quite a pleasant listen. I’ve always been a fan of the Inspirations and their mountain gospel sound, and there’s plenty here to enjoy.

Rating
4 out of 5
Overall

Long-time fans of the Inspirations have nothing to fear from this new release with some familiar faces.

4

Good
4 out of 5

Kyle Boreing

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. Visit his website at www.kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

MusicScribe Comments

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3 Comments

  1. Scotty Searan
    Reply June 26, 13:15 #1 Scotty Searan

    Good review of the cd.
    I am going out a buy a copy.
    Thankful for your honest opinion, being that you prefer the progressive type of SGM.
    I don’t know what I would do, if I was a quartet manager these days.
    But I believe I would have been like the Inspirations find a niche and stay there.
    I don’t blame the groups with wanting to appeal to a larger audience, because they might better success if they succeed..
    At this stage in Southern Gospel Music history, I guess the Cathedrals and the Inspirations would be two groups that you that set the pinnacles for their longevity and ability to keep on making hits.
    The Cathedrals, even after being gone from the scene for almost 20 years, still can be heard quite regular on SGM radio.
    I am 64 years old, and I have been a dedicated fan of SGM all my life.
    Yes I like the simpler non progressive sound of SGM.
    I do like some songs of the progressive groups, but they is nothing any better than listening to a good Inspirations, McKameys, Perry’s, Carroll Roberson, or Primitive Quartet song.
    I know some groups started out with the intentions of being a progressive SGM group and they may be enjoying the success with it.
    But if there are any groups of individuals who are reading these comments, that once was more traditional SGM but you have become progressive or are trying to broaden your horizons. Please take a few minutes to consider.
    Take a honest look at groups who tries to broaden their horizons and look at what happen to their careers in SGM.
    I am not going to call any names, but there is a lot of evidence out there to view.
    Was it productive for them? At what stage in the careers were they selling the most product?
    I am not bringing the ministry part in this conversation. I am talking about the business portion of it and SGM is definitely a business.
    If your group is not selling as good as it once was, may be you should consider going back to what once was more successful for you.
    Just a few thoughts to think about.
    Inspirations Keep on doing what you’re doing for as long as you are able physically to do it.
    Archie Watkins you might even think of taking a group under your wings and mentor them, like you did the Primitives and get them established to follow in your footsteps to keep the Good sound alive.




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    • David Bruce Murray
      Reply June 26, 13:44 David Bruce Murray

      My opinion on this topic is a little different. I see some groups (not all, but some) that just appear to be going through the motions, never challenging themselves, and if they’re enjoying themselves, you couldn’t tell.

      I would prefer to see a group make music in a style they are particularly gifted to do and equally important, a style they enjoy doing. I see some groups that have good singers, but they’re trying to do a style that doesn’t suit the strengths.

      If that style they enjoy most and are well-gifted to do happens to be traditional, so be it. If it’s progressive, that’s fine, too. There are enough fans out there to enjoy all manner of styles, and there’s even success to be had from a business perspective IF:
      a) they’re good enough…they don’t have to necessarily be great, but just good enough
      b) they stick with it long enough to build an adequate fan-base that will support what they’re doing




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      • Scotty Searan
        Reply June 26, 14:20 Scotty Searan

        David I agree with you on that completely.
        Just because you sing a different style, doesn’t mean it is not gospel music.
        Though I do feel that SGM is too inclusive in different styles under it’s banner.
        But like you say, be comfortable with what you are doing.
        Find what works for you and stick with it.
        The Cathedrals and the Inspirations are truly the Icons or benchmarks of the industry in sticking with something that worked and fine tuning it.
        I am not talking about style here, even though I truly love their singing. They found something that worked and people came and still come to hear them.
        There are some still searching and I hope they find where they are comfortable or where they were comfortable.




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