CD Review: The One In The Water (The Inspirations)

by | Jun 22, 2017 | CD Reviews, Reviews

The One In The Water (The Inspirations)Suppose you are in 1972 and you have just played an Inspirations LP. You step into a time machine. When you step back out, forty-five years have passed, and it is 2017. Once you learn to play Spotify on an iPhone—a marvelous invention, yes?—you play the new Inspirations release, The One in the Water. You say, “Well, whatever else has changed, the Inspirations sure haven’t.”

But of course, you are quickly told that there have been dramatic changes. Founding tenor Archie Watkins left eight years ago. Founding pianist Martin Cook recently retired due to health issues, leading to Archie Watkins making one of the least-anticipated comebacks in quartet history.

Watkins’ wasn’t the only return. In fact, two of the other three members of the group’s 1972 lineup have also returned, bass Marlin Schubert (after a forty-five-year absence!) and baritone Eddie Dietz. Lead singer Matt Dibler appears to be the only remaining vocalist who was a member when the year began. (Luke Vaught is now the pianist, and SGHistory credits Casey Johnson and Roland Kesterson as band members.)

The songs are exactly what a fan of the classic Inspirations sound would hope to find. There are two classic quartet songs, “I Want to Be Like My Lord” and “I Shall Not Be Moved.” And there are shoutin’ songs from writers as diverse as Kyla Rowland (“The One In The Water”) and Matthew and Tommy Browder (“I Am Blessed.”)

“We Are Christians” and “Jesus, They’re Offended At Your Name” have exactly the sort of lyrics practically every Southern Gospel group used to sing in the ’90s. The time-machine effect is particularly strong here. It’s hard to listen to these without a poignant nostalgia for simpler times when Christians were concerning themselves about whether unbelievers said “Merry Christmas.”

The One In The Water is exactly the record that fans of the classic Inspirations hoped this reunion lineup would make.

Watch for another perspective, from Kyle, next week!

Label: Horizon/Crossroads
Producer: Jeff Collins
Songs: The One in the Water, I Want To Be Like My Lord, I Know Him, When Jesus Turns My Prison Into My Shouting Ground, I Shall Not Be Moved, Teaching Me to Fly, I Am So Blessed, We Are Christians, Thank God For Preachers, Jesus They’re Offended At Your Name
Rating: 4 stars.

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Daniel J. Mount

Daniel J. Mount

Daniel J. Mount is a Christian author and songwriter. He lives in Black Mountain, NC.


  1. Scotty Searan

    No use changing something that keeps producing hits

    • Daniel J. Mount

      As it’s said colloquially in my neck of the woods, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

  2. Tad Kirkland

    I love how even the cover looks like one of their album covers from ’72. I grew up ok them and look forward to hearing this.

  3. David Bruce Murray

    My rating for this CD is 3 stars.

    I arrived at that rating by comparing it to last year’s release, _Pray For Me_. Featuring Harold Reed, Matt Dibler, Melton Campbell, and Joe Brown, that CD from just one year ago is superior to _The One In The Water_ in just about every category. I rated it 4 Stars when I wrote my review, and noted that it was the group’s best release of the current decade.

    The contrast is particularly obvious when comparing the vocal quality of the tenor and bass singers. Nostalgia aside, Reed is a fundamentally better tenor singer than Archie Watkins, and Joe Brown is a better bass singer than Marlin Shubert. No amount of digital editing can cover those facts up.

    Song selection is also rather weak on this CD compared to _Pray For Me_. Featuring Shubert on a black gospel arrangement like “I Shall Not Be Moved” comes across as almost comical. Ten years ago, Mike Holcomb could have sold it, and it would have been a highlight, but Shubert doesn’t attack it in a convincing manner.

    Don’t misunderstand. I do agree with the message in every song on this CD, but due to the delivery or the songwriting and sometimes both, several songs are awkward in presentation.

    The only area where I’d consider the two CDs to be equal in terms of the music is the quality of the tracks. This is no surprise, considering the studio musicians are the same on both albums.

    I also like the nostalgic cover art.



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