Let’s kick off another week by filling another reader request for the ten on ten feature. Phil Cross burst on the Southern Gospel scene first as a noted songwriter. His first big cut was the Singing Americans, “Welcome To Heaven”, but it was the Cathedrals cut of “Champion Of Love” that really put Phil Cross on the map.
It was in the early ’90′s when Phil Cross put a trio together and he named it Poet Voices. To this day, I still say it is one of the most unique names of any group in Southern Gospel history. Poet Voices did what few groups in this genre has done, they took their very first radio single to #1. ”Jesus Built A Bridge” spent several months at #1 and went on to be nominated song of the year in 1994.
After a couple of years as a trio, Poet Voices added a bass singer and a quartet was born. With just under 20 albums in their discography, here are what I consider to be Poet Voices ten best.
The top ten Poet Voices albums are as follows:
- Trust The Truth (1997)
- Timeless 1 (2001)
- Let It Be (2005)
- Our God Is Marching On (1993)
- Common Ground (1995)
- This Changes Everything (2001)
- Pilgrim Song (1999)
- Men Of His Word (2004)
- Steppin’ Stones (2006)
- Turn To The One (2002)
- In the short time the Poet Voices spent in Southern Gospel music, they released some strong recordings. The 1997 album Trust The Truth is the pinnacle of Poet Voices career.
- This album contains one of Southern Gospel’s all time greatest songs in “I Am Redeemed”. It won the song of the year honors in 1998. In addition to “I Am Redeemed”, Trust The Truth also contained “Grace And Glory”, “One Holy Lamb”, ”Over And Over Again”, “Trust The Truth” and “God Of Glory, Lord Of Love”.
- Poet Voices recorded a classic style quartet album in 2001 titled Timeless 1. This albums ranks #2 among the group’s best. The vocal line-up on this recording included Dale Brock (tenor), Phil Cross (lead), Scott Inman (baritone) and Tim Duncan (bass).
- The album contained great covers of classic quartet standards “I Feel Good”, “Heaven Came Down”, “The House Of Prayer”, “I Want To Get Closer”, “City Of Gold” and “He’s Everything To Me”. If you enjoy classic Southern Gospel quartet music, this album should be in your collection.
- After retiring the quartet in 2002, Phil Cross put another trio together in 2004 that consisted of Cross, Mark Lanier of Perfect Heart fame and Greg Crowe. The three trio albums released in 2004, 2005 and 2006 all made the top ten list.
- The 2005 recording Let It Be was the highest ranked of those three trio recordings, ranked #3 among the ten best. ”Come On Children”, “Dear God”, “Made To Love”, “Let It Be”, “In The Center Of The Father’s Will” and “Preaching In Prison” all highlight this album.
- The group’s debut album, Our God Is Marching On, that contained the #1 smash “Jesus Built A Bridge” ranks #4. This album is one of the best recordings released in the year 1993 by any group and for it to be a debut album makes it all the more special.
- The forgotten gem in the group’s discography is the 1995 album Common Ground. This was the final trio recording before adding a bass singer. This was also the first album to feature tenor Tony Jarman. ”He Means The World To Me”, “I Wanna Fall Deeper”, “God Says I Will”, “The Only King”, “Power Of The Lord” and “The Highest Hill” all highlight this recording.
- The album that should be forgotten in Poet Voices discography was the 2007 recording Second Verse. Taking a praise approach, the album was not appealing.
- Phil Cross took a chance on some individuals that have gone on to bigger things. Tony Jarman (Legacy Five, Down East Boys), Scott Inman (Triumphant Quartet), Tim Duncan (Signature Sound), Channing Eleton (Gold City, Soloist) and Mike Allen (Gaither Homecoming Series, Palmetto State Quartet) all gained initial exposure to the Southern Gospel listening audience through their time spent with Poet Voices.