CD Review: Tribute Quartet – Quartet Tribute, Volume One

Tribute Quartet’s line-up of Riley Harrison Clark (tenor), Gary Casto (lead), Josh Singletary (baritone), and Anthony Davis (bass) has remained consistent since 2011. In what appears to be the first of a series (given the “Volume One” designation), this veteran group’s new CD is titled Quartet Tribute. As the play on their group name implies, this collection features cover versions of songs popularized previously by other quartets.

The concept of a tribute to quartets may condition you to expect budget quality or perhaps a raiding Daywind’s vast accompaniment track library for music, but there is a clear and consistent sound to this Quartet Tribute that suggests these are fresh, well-thought out arrangements. (You can listen to samples for yourself below.)

As you’d expect, Tribute includes several well-known standards. “I’m Standing On The Solid Rock,” “Hide Thou Me,” and “What A Meeting In The Air” are reaffirmed as great songs of the faith. “Move That Mountain,” “Over The Moon,” and “I’ve Been With Jesus” are right there in the same ballpark, and Tribute’s vocals do them all justice.

The remaining four titles may not be quite as well known. At a mere ten years old, “Every Question Will Be Answered” was first released by the Perrys and then covered by the Erwins in 2013. In one sense, Tribute’s all-male vocals make this the most unique cut on the CD. In another sense, they’ve matched the Perrys’ track to the point that I first thought they actually were using the Perrys’ track. Even the key is the same.

Tribute’s version of “His Tomb Is Empty Now” is more akin to the Anchormen‘s version than the version recorded many years earlier by the Chestnut Grove Quartet. It’s not bad at all, but when I heard them pronounce the word “Golgotha” as “Gal-gotha,” I admit I cringed a little.

“Come On, Let’s Go To That Land” doesn’t stray far from the versions recorded by the Kingdom Heirs and Dove Brothers. Of course, Tribute’s rendering of this traditional bass feature is a good bit different than the a cappella version by the all-female trio Sisters.

“Hold On (Jesus Will Come)” is a gem with its wealth of full sounding minor seventh harmonies. The Florida Boys recorded this Jim Hill song in 1977. 20 years later, the Hayes Family covered it, and now 40 years later, we have Tribute’s version. A few more artists have also recorded this song over the years.

Quartet Tribute, Volume One and the subsequent volumes I expect to follow should sell quite well at concerts and perhaps in stores as well. It’s clever marketing to turn the group’s name around to create a CD title. I give both the group and producer Gerald Wolfe high marks for staying true to the concept while avoiding some of the obvious titles that have already been done to death. I can’t really point to a song on Quartet Tribute and say it’s considerably better than at least one of the older versions of the same song. Of course, I didn’t expect Tribute to take these songs to new levels of brilliance when the concept of a tribute to past quartet songs suggest that was never their primary intent.

Quartet Tribute does deliver on the concept.

LABEL: Daywind Records
PRODUCER:
Gerald Wolfe
SONG TITLES: I’m Standing On The Solid Rock; Over The Moon; Every Question Will Be Answered; His Tomb Is Empty; Come On Let’s Go To That Land; Hide Thou Me; Move That Mountain; What A Meeting In The Air; I’ve Been With Jesus; Hold On

Overall rating
3.5 out of 5

3.5

Average
3.5 out of 5
Category CD Reviews, 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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3 Comments

  1. Scotty Searan
    Reply October 19, 14:43 #1 Scotty Searan

    The Singing Echoes had a good version of His Tomb Is Empty Now back in 1975.
    Was the Chestnut Grove Qt version an earlier version




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  2. Darrell
    Reply October 19, 19:20 #2 Darrell

    Listened to the preview video and figured out this is an album I would enjoy. Nice mix of songs. Side note: here is a video from a few years ago of Ben Waites, along with 3 other men, including Jordan James, doing a good version of Every Question Will Be Answered. Great song! Glad Tribute included it on this album. https://youtu.be/J-CGwdI9V0M




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