R & R
Will Sanders, Ron Small and Marcus Mosely were friends long before coming together to provide backing for Canadian bluesman Jim Byrnes but this was the catalyst that formed these seasoned vocalists into a gospel trio.
Their retro approach has strong echoes of RnB, doo wop, and blues on a collection of gospel standards, traditional and contemporary material. Their song choices mostly suit their weathered voices, particularly the vibrant opener 'Nobody Can Turn Me Around' and the straight-ahead gospel of 'Great Day'. However, not all is convincing. A plodding take on Los Lobos' 'The Neighbourhood' transmits no sense of place and the great opening to the reflective 'Another Soldier Gone' loses its way once an incongruous spoken passage intrudes.
Their penchant for mournful, reflective songs continues with a fine take on the Jackson Southernaires 'It's Hard to Stumble' before they attempt to dig deep into the soul of 'Death Don't Have No Mercy'. The uninitiated will possibly find this compelling and sad. Others may find it too glossy and scramble for the raw, heart-wrenching original. And therein lies your choice: do you like your gospel smoothly rendered and soaked in a swirling Hammond B-3, or do you think the pain and joy of life's struggles need to be expressed with a rougher edge?
- Simon Rowland