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Chanticleer are most effective both in their backing of Bishop Flunder [listen -- track 5, 0:00-1:21] and in the numbers which they perform in their own right [Listen track 4, 0:00-1:13]. The way they impersonate a gospel choir is effective and many numbers on this disc are toe-tappingly intoxicating [Listen track 8, 0:00-1:29]. But a little part of me keeps saying, why bother? In an age when a genuine gospel choir can reach the finals of the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Awards, it seems churlish for non-gospel choirs impersonate them, no matter how enjoyable it may be to sing this music.

And enjoyable it is, don't get me wrong. I have one or two cavils about the arrangements, particularly the excruciatingly slow version of Amazing Grace [Listen track 3, 0:00-0:58], but ultimately this reminded me more of a theatrical experience, a show about gospel music rather than the real thing.

Copyright © 4 December 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK


How Sweet the Sound - Spirituals and Traditional Gospel Music

2564 60309-2 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 68'39" 2004 Warner Classics

Bishop Yvette A Flunder, solos; Kevin Baum, solos; Jay White, solos; Michael Lichtenauer, solo; Philip Wilder, solo; Christopher Fritzsche, solo; Matthew Alber, solo; Chanticleer; Joseph Jennings, music director, piano and solos

L V McCollum: Jesus hits like an atom bomb; W H Brewster Sr: Surely God is able; Trad plantation melody: Amazing Grace; Traditional: Soon one mornin' medley (Soon one mornin'; What you gon' do when the world's on fire?; You can't hide; Run on for a long time); Traditional: Didn't it rain; Traditional: Sit down servant/Plenty good room; Traditional: Keep your hand on the plow (Hold on); Traditional: My soul is a witness; Traditional: There is a balm in Gilead; Traditional: Poor pilgrim medley (Sometimes I feel like a motherless child; Poor pilgrim of sorrow; Walk in Jerusalem); Joseph Jennings: Be still and know that I'm God




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