ALBUM REVIEW: Kingsmen Quartet – Unstoppable God

Kingsmen – Unstoppable God

Producer:  Jeff Collins

Label:  Horizon Records


Rating:  4 ½ Stars

The Kingsmen name is truly legendary!  Celebrating 68 years as a quartet, “Unstoppable God” is #150 in their vast discography of music that has deeply affected, dare I say, millions of people in those 68 years, including myself!  Shameless plug here, but if you’re not familiar with the Kingsmen legacy (or even if you are), please check out my music page on Facebook, as each week I will be reviewing each of their albums from 1972-2001 (  In conjunction with those articles, Absolutely Gospel will be sharing these same articles each following week after they are subsequently posted on my music page.

Along with Alan Kendall (baritone) and the legend himself, Ray Dean Reese (bass), “Unstoppable God” is the first recording featuring newest members, Thomas Nalley (Tenor), Cole Watson (lead) and Drew Laney (bass).  As with any type of group change, there is always a transition period, but these guys sound great together and have gelled very nicely!  On this latest release, we have a good mix of that classic Kingsmen sound, as well as songs ranging from country to more inspirational/contemporary.  With these varying styles and sounds, it all surprisingly, came together creating a very cohesive recording that Kingsmen fans are really going enjoy!

The recording kicks off with the lively, “SOUND OF THE RIGHTEOUS”, which was written by the late Dianne Wilkinson and Janice Crow.  With multiple key changes along with step-out lines by Thomas, Cole and Drew, the song has that classic “Kangsmen” feel and will no doubt be a fan favorite from this recording.  With fiddle, piano and guitar highlights, it was the perfect way to start the recording off, before we come to the title song, “UNSTOPPABLE GOD”, which has a different feel, as it slows the tempo down a bit.   Written by Kenna Turner-West, Jason Cox and former Kingsmen lead singer, Chris Bryant, the song has already had a good showing in the charts for the Kingsmen, and features an exceptional performance by Thomas, reminding everyone that…“there’s nothing on Earth that can stop the unstoppable God!”

Picking the tempo back up, we come to the delightful, “WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN”, which is an older song written by Kingsmen alumnus, Squire Parsons.  Featuring some nice modern harmony and bass lines by Drew, the song was originally recorded by the Kingsmen on a rare 4 album collection they recorded in the late 70’s.  I’m so glad they dusted off this song and included this fun little ditty on this recording.  It’s an outstanding inclusion and one of the true highlights of the recording.

Keeping things fun, while offering something a little different for the Kingsmen, Cole steps up to sing, “SOUL SET FREE”, before Alan slows the tempo down for the thought provoking, “THE ME I’LL NEVER KNOW”, which was written by Matthew Lawson and Nathan Woodard.  Alan has a knack for singing these types of songs and it’s one of my all-time favorite performances by Alan.  Highlighted by a nice steel guitar track, the song is a reminder for those who chose to follow the Lord early in life and miss out on the many charms of the world…“that’s the me I’ll never know, that’s the life I’ll never live, that’s the road I’ll never walk, all because of what He did, I thank God for stories left untold…”.  It’s a uniquely written song taken from a very unique perspective and is a highlight of the recording.

The tempo kicks back up for the fun, brass infused, “IT AIN’T NOTHING FOR HIM”, before country sounds abound with the fiddle and steel guitar, as Ray and Drew both tackle a verse of the country balladry feel of “THE GOD WHO NEVER CHANGES”.  Written by Dianne Wilkinson, Aaron Wilburn and Marty Funderburk, the song is a wonderful inclusion showcasing Ray and Drew together, and is a tremendous testimony song, proclaiming that…“the God who never changes, is still changing me!”

With its mournful piano and viola intro, Cole does an amazing job on the contemporary feel of the power ballad, “SECOND CHANCES”.  Totally different from anything else, featuring power chords on the electric guitar, the song has a unique dynamic and is very different for the Kingsmen.  It’s not a song I would have ever thought the Kingsmen would sing or record, as it sounds like something that would be right at home on a Joseph Habedank recording.  Despite its unique feel and messaging, it somehow fits perfectly on this recording, before we come to the electric guitar driven, “THE STRENGTH OF THE ROCK”.  Written by baritone, Alan Kendall along with Rodney Griffin, the song features Drew and has a nice country feel to it, giving it an Oak Ridge Boys (ish) feel.

I really think Thomas found his niche with the slower, heartfelt tunes, and he does a tremendous job with the song, “PRAYING FOR THE PRODIGAL”, before things are kicked back into high gear for “I JUST STOPPED BY ON MY WAY HOME”.  The Kingsmen originally recorded this song back in 1991, and though it wasn’t a chart song for the group, it was a showstopper, and closed out many of their sets with the crowd on their feet, and I have longed for the group to bring this song back.  While sticking close to the original arrangement, the current group made it their own and once again, they are bringing crowds to their feet with this rousing number.

Rounding out the recording is the choral feel of “NO OTHER KING”.  With each member of the Kingsmen taking a line or two in the song, it’s not your typical sounding Kingsmen tune.  It’s a good song, but it’s the only song that kind of sticks out for me, and despite some of the unique flavors being offered on this recording, I just don’t think this song fits the overall feel of the recording.

I really liked the unique icons beside each song title on the back cover.  Each icon is unique, and it appears some thought went into choosing the specific icon beside each title.  Speaking of the cover work, I’m not a fan of releases without a cover shot (though one is inside).  In light of the most recent changes in the Kingsmen, it probably made sense to opt out of a cover shot of the group on the cover.

“Unstoppable God” is a great mix of that classic Kingsmen sound, while also keeping things fresh with songs that are unique and not your normal Kingsmen fare.  While I tend to lean more towards the traditional Kingsmen sound, I really enjoyed the variety found on this recording, and the Kingsmen truly sounded amazing.  These guys are doing a remarkable job keeping the legacy alive, and as they near the 70-year mark, they are proving the Kingsmen are unstoppable as well!

Personal favorites include, “Sound of the Righteous”, “When the Saints Go Marching In”, “The Me I’ll Never Know”, “The God Who Never Changes”, “The Strength of the Rock” and “I Just Stopped By on My Way Home”.

Listen to Unstoppable God HERE: 

James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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