Let It Be Said: Freedom Quartet

freedom-quartet-square-coverGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Let It Be Said
  • Artist – Freedom Quartet
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 09/16/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

The last several weeks I have been filling in some album reviews I didn’t get around to in 2014.  One such review is the latest album from Freedom Quartet, Let It Be Said.

This is the third quartet album for Freedom.  Thus far the three albums have all had the same vocal personnel.  The group is composed of John Rulapaugh (tenor), Dale Shipley (lead), Preston Garner (baritone) and Burman Porter (bass).

Let It Be Said is a traditional quartet listener’s paradise.  It has twelve songs all done in classic Southern Gospel four part harmony.  There are a few progressive moments, but nothing that pushes the boundary too far.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • It is the traditional quartet moments that stood out on Let It Be Said.  The up-tempo, “I’m Gonna Rise”, is a winner.  You could repeat this song several times before moving on to the rest of the album.  John and Burman’s time spent with the original Dove Brothers Quartet really shows in this song.
  • The smooth ensemble harmony work on “Someday Soon” keeps the listener in that traditional quartet mindset.
  • Baritone, Preston Garner has more features on Let It Be Said than lead vocalist Dale Shipley.  I particularly enjoyed his cover of “We Will Remember”.  I also thought Freedom Quartet’s cover stood out over Triumphant Quartet’s cover of the song on their Awesome God album.
  • Preston is also joined by Northern Ireland’s Revelation on “I Will Praise Him Forever”.  A somber, reflective song that deserves a listen.
  • Tenor John Rulapaugh has always had a bit of Rosie Rozell in his voice.  He was born to sing classic Southern Gospel quartet music.  He brings a bit of blues to the group’s current radio single, “To Lift Somebody Up”.
  • John also turns in a strong performance on the ballad, “Yet You Call”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I’m Gonna Rise”, “Someday Soon”, “I Will Praise Him Forever”, “We Will Remember”, “To Lift Somebody Up” and “Yet You Call”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Nancy Harmon’s classic, “God Rides On Wings Of Love”, has made its rounds lately.  I think Freedom Quartet could have left this cover off.
  • I also felt the first (“Godly Men”) and last song (“Let It Be Said Of Us”) on the album took big production routes, which diminished the traditional quartet vibe given off by the rest of the album.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “God Rides On Wings Of Love” and “Let It Be Said Of Us”.

WRAP UP:

Those who fear change really only fear it because they feel ‘traditional’ will somehow be left behind or forgotten.  This could be said of anything in life, not just Southern Gospel music.  While we do need to keep up with societal changes, Southern Gospel listeners can find solace in the fact, ‘traditional’, will always have a place.  Freedom Quartet is the epitome of traditional Southern Gospel music.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Godly Men”/Ensemble – Scott Wesley Brown, David Hampton  2. “I’m Gonna Rise“/Ensemble – Mark Mathes  3. “We Will Remember”/Ensemble; Preston – Tommy Walker  4. “To Lift Somebody Up”/John  5. “I Will Praise Him Forever”/Preston – Shantell Faulknor  6. “Whale Of A Tale”/Burman  7. “We Will Bow”/Dale  8. “Someday Soon”/Ensemble – Colbert Croft, Joyce Croft  9. “He Sees The Cross”/Preston  10. “God Rides On Wings Of Love”/Ensemble; Dale – Nancy Harmon  11. “Yet You Call”/John – Daniel Mount, Dianne Wilkinson  10. “Let It Be Said Of Us”/Ensemble

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