The Inspirations are one of the few groups in Southern Gospel that attempt to get a new album out every year. 2013 finds the release of No Two Ways About It. This album features new vocalists Mark Clark (tenor) and Steve Srein (lead).
The Inspirations have held to the same music formula for over 40 years. They won’t stray from it, and No Two Ways About It continues that tradition.
Song list: (1) “Saved, Sealed And Going” – Rodney Griffin (2) “You Can Still Find Forgiveness” – Jim Brady (3) “I’ll Be A Friend To Jesus” – Johnson Oatman Jr (4) “He Made A Change” – Jim Brady (5) “I’ll Never Get Over” – Jeremy Simpson (6) “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” – Cleavant Derricks (7) “Jesus Is Coming Soon” – RE Winsett (8) “No Two Ways” – Kevin Jones (9) “On Heaven’s Bright Shore” – Roscoe Reed (10) “I’ve Got That Old Time Religion” – Terry Pillow
- Baritone Jon Epley is featured on the two stand out tracks found on No Two Ways About It. “You Can Still Find Forgiveness” is my pick for best track. I never thought I would see the Inspirations cut a Jim Brady tune, but they did and it is a winner.
- The second Epley feature is the title track, “No Two Ways About It”. This is a nice up-tempo Inspirations style song that should go to radio.
- New lead singer, Steve Srein, has a strong first performance on an Inspirations recording with another Jim Brady penned song; “He Made A Change”. He continues the long tradition of Inspirations lead singers in the vein of Troy Burns.
- Half of No Two Ways About It is filled with song covers. The strongest is “On Heaven’s Bright Shore”. It allows the listener to hear new tenor Mark Clark nail an Inspiration’s classic.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- Studio musicians Jeff Collins (piano), David Johnson (guitars, fiddle, harmonica) and Tim Surrett (acoustic bass) create a solid foundation for the vocals.
- “You Can Still Find Forgiveness” is my pick for a radio single. The lyric is a direct, clear statement of faith in a style that has resonated with radio DJs in the past.
- “I’ve Got That Old Time Religion” is a fun closing song. When I saw the title I was expecting the 1941 Hurdist Milsap lyric (Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co.), but this is a Terry Pillow song from the Stamps Quartet publishing company’s catalog .
- I was disappointed with the other songs covered on No Two Ways About It. “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” and “Jesus Is Coming Soon” should be reserved for table/classic type recordings, not used on mainline releases. These songs have been recorded so many times through the years, there is nothing that can be added to a newer version.
- Mike Holcomb is featured on the new album, but not enough. I missed his slower type features like “God Makes No Mistakes” and “If You Only Knew” on previous albums.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- As Steve mentioned, Mike Holcomb is under-utilized on this CD. As you’d expect, he is the featured singer on Clevant Derricks’ classic “Just A Little Talk With Jesus.” Some sections feature Holcomb’s great trademark rhythmic bass singing, but this arrangement is sadly spoiled by a slow section featuring several very ugly, unnecessary ultra-low growls.
- Mark Clark and Stephen Srein sound like they have been singing with the Inspirations for years, but they don’t quite match the vocal quality of the Ragan/Hosterman combination.
- NO – This was only a slight no because of the worn out song covers used. The new material is strong enough to warrant getting those songs. Don’t pass up picking up “He Made A Change”, “I’ll Never Get Over”, “I’ve Got That Old Time Religion”, “No Two Ways” and “You Can Still Find Forgiveness”.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- NO – Die-hard Inspirations fans will want to buy a copy, but it’s not a collection I’d consider to be a must buy for my own library.