This month, those inspiring Inspirations are back from the mountains with a new release and an up-and-coming regional group will soon be known nationally with their latest release. Justified Quartet from Akron, Michigan wants you to “Take A Stand” and request it at your local gospel station.
As always, if you enjoy the reviews, pick up this music, or download it, wherever you get good gospel music.
Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, Ind., 47432
Now…Let the Reviews begin
“Right Where He Is”
Producer: Jeff Collins
2019 Horizon records
Songs: “He’s Coming Again” (Matthew Browder BMI); “There’ll Never Be A Giant” (Roland Kesterson BMI); “Lord I Want To Be A Blessing” (Squire Parsons BMI); “Wouldn’t Change The End” (Dixie Phillips-Mark Mathes BMI); “She Gets Another Prayer Through Again” (Steve Moss BMI); “His Hand Reached Further Down” (Don Johnson BMI); “Obey The Spirit of The Lord” (Joyce Croft-Colbert Croft BMI); “That’s Right Where He’ll Be” (Rebecca J Peck-Megan Sorelle Mulnix BMI); “The End of Time Is Near” (William Carter BMI); “Judas Kissed The Door” (Sandy Knight BMI)
This is now the second album with Archie Watkins at the helm of ownership of the group. As you know, Martin Cook retired and sold all interest and ownership of the group to Archie, to lead the Inspirations and continue their brand of gospel music. This album brings Roland Kesterson to the front as their new lead singer, as Matt Dibler retired, and Wyatt Austin, former bass with the Chuckwagon Gang, was brought on as utility musician and occasional bass singer.
This album is a marked improvement, over “The One In the Water,” the blend is tighter and the musical selection is a better choice as well. From top to bottom, this lineup of the Inspirations has struck pay dirt with this project. “He’s Coming Again” leads off the project with the traditional Inspiration sound we’ve all come to know and love, featuring Roland on lead. Eddie Dietz gets the lead on a Squire Parsons tune “Lord I Want To Be A Blessing” and shines as always. One of my favorites that I hope will be pulled as a single, “His Hand Reached Further Down,” features Archie. In his earlier days, he could not have sung this as he sings here. Archie’s voice has aged like a fine wine and with a little age, he sings this to perfection, and I’m thankful he reached further down for me.
The current single climbing the charts is “That’s Right Where He’ll Be.” From the pen of Rebecca J Peck, no matter where we are that’s “Where He’ll Be.” You’ll instantly recognize the single, as it has one of the catchiest intros on radio today. But my true favorite is a re-recording of “The End Of Time Is Near.” This classic Inspirations’ song, first recorded in 1969, sparkles as two of the current Inspirations were on this particular cut, Archie and Eddie. In 50 years the message of this song is even clearer and truer today. This is worthy as well of being a single.
Overall, the Inspirations and all those involved have crafted a CD that has not left my player for a while. Great songs, the classic Inspiration sound, and some great studio musicians make for an album that is a pure delight. Visit the Inspirations at https://www.facebook.com/theinspirations/ and get a copy of “Right Where He Is” wherever and however you get good gospel music.
Strongest Songs: “Right Where He’ll Be,” “His Hand Reached Further Down,” “The End of Time Is Near,” “Obey the Spirit Of The Lord”
“Take A Stand”
Producer: Bob Caldwell
Songs: “Take A Stand” (Scott Inman-Daryl Williams); “Come, Lord Jesus” (Dianne Wilkinson); “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Jesus” (Mike Payne-Vic Clay); “We’ve Got Our Ways” (Rebecca Peck-David Jenkins); “It Should Have Rained” (Dianne Wilkinson-Rusty Golden); “We’re In The Same Boat” (Rebecca Peck-Kenna Turner West); “Heaven Is The Place Where Dreams Come True” (Dianne Wilkinson-Janice Crow); “Can’t Wait To Hear The Sound” (Carl Ledford); “It Took A Lamb” (Geron Davis); “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross” (Marty Funderburk-Buddy Mullins)
For the past six years, this group has been Michigan’s pride and joy. Based out of Akron, Mich., Justified is about to no longer be Michigan’s secret. Lead, Carl Ledford; baritone, Mark Jacoby; tenor, Dave Potts and bass, Tim Caldwell, have crafted a album that is pure joy and straight ahead Southern gospel. The album produced by Bob Caldwell, who you may remember as the bass singer with Won By One, Brian Free and Assurance, and Kingdom Heirs, has brought the best out of Justified. By the way, Tim Caldwell is Bob’s brother. “Take A Stand” leads off this project, and in this day and age we must “Take A Stand.” This is their current single and could be the group’s first national Top 20.
Justified sings the fire out of “Come Lord Jesus,” the first of three Dianne Wilkinson songs on the album. “It Should Have Rained,” penned by Dianne, is an absolute gem that deserves a possible single release. Featuring their tenor, this was formerly recorded by the Kingsmen, but changing the lead to tenor, markedly changes the song and makes it more powerful. Closing out the CD is another lead vocal for tenor Dave Potts on “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross”, a powerful song of where our belief lies. In between “Take A Stand” and “I Still Cling,” is one of the best new projects of the year. You may not have heard of Justified, but in a few more single releases, you will remember their name. Take a stand and get a copy of this CD. Visit Justified at https://www.facebook.com/JustifiedqtMI/ and get a copy of “Take A Stand” wherever and however you get good gospel music.
Strongest Songs: “Take A Stand,” “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross,” “It Should Have Rained,” “Don’t be Caught Dead”
Reviews by Randall Hamm
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2019
Read the July SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE