This week’s smack down feature has a song written by noted Southern Gospel songwriter Ann Ballard. There are several other versions of “It’ll Be Joy”, but this week I wanted to use the 1974 Dixie Echoes version and the 2001 version by the Poet Voices.
One of Southern Gospel’s all time greatest lead singers Dale Shelnut was featured on the 1974 Dixie Echoes version. Dale was known for the spirituals he did in concert. Those same songs found their way on to the group’s recordings. The 1974 album, Harvest Of New Hits, that featured “It’ll Be Joy” was a great album. Another song from that recording that I enjoy also features Dale titled, “My Real Home.” The Dixie Echoes will take the first verse and chorus.
Phil Cross put Poet Voices together sometime around 1992. The group first started as a trio and put their debut recording out in 1993. The group was an instant hit as their debut single “Jesus Built A Bridge” went to #1 in 1994. By the end of the ’90s the group had become a quartet and found even greater success with the 1998 song of the year “I Am Redeemed”.
Quite a few individuals spent some time with Poet Voices during the group’s career. Tony Jarman, who would later join Legacy Five, sang tenor for the group. Mike Allen, now a member of LeFevre Quartet, sang bass and Scott Inman began his career as the group’s final baritone. Another member that would later go on to big things with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound was bass singer Tim Duncan. Tim was a member of the group when they recorded their 2001 recording, This Changes Everything. The Poet Voices version of “It’ll Be Joy” features Tim on the verses. Poet Voices will take the second verse and chorus.