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REVIEW: Kingsmen – They Don’t Know

Producer: Jeff Collins
Record Label: Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group
Website: www.kingsmenquartet.com

Since the late 1950s, the Kingsmen Quartet has been known for their high energy and innovative arrangements. With their 2017 release, They Don’t Know, the Kingsmen continue to offer fans an eclectic mix of traditional and progressive Southern Gospel music. This is the first Kingsmen release for new tenor, Joshua Horrell, while Bob Sellers (lead), Randy Crawford (baritone), and Ray Dean Reese (bass) maintain the classic Kingsmen style.

Throughout the project, the Kingsmen offer a solid variety with the driving rhythm of the progressive uptempo numbers and ballads with some traditional elements interspersed. Fans have come to expect features of a soaring tenor vocal, and Joshua Horrell certainly exceeds. His performances on “God Calls It Grace” and “Fade to Black” are among the strongest songs on the project.

In addition to Joshua’s features, Bob Sellers and Randy Crawford deliver some strong performances as well. Most notable of theirs are the title track, “They Don’t Know (What the Lord Can Do)” (Randy), “Hear the Word of the Lord” (Bob), and “Don’t Ever Underestimate God’s Grace” (Randy). The key to the Kingsmen’s tight sound is the strong lead & baritone singers. Bob & Randy provide some of the strongest “glue” you’ll see in the lead & baritone spots. While the aforementioned tunes are solos, the remainder of the project shows their incredibly tight sound together. I’m sure they don’t get as much credit as deserved (most leads & baritones don’t), but they definitely carry this project.

With their last release, Battle Cry, the Kingsmen managed to have 2 #1 singles from the same album – a first for their nearly 60-year history. While They Don’t Know doesn’t offer the traditional elements that played a role in their previous effort’s success, it introduces fans to a fresh departure from the norm. The most notable difference for this particular release is practically no solos/features for group owner & SGMA Hall of Famer, Ray Dean Reese. Although the project has moments that stretch their sound, the classic Kingsmen harmonies and energy remain.

Track Listing:

They Don’t Know (What the Lord Can Do) (Jason Cox, Kenna West, Tony Wood) **
Keep the Lions Hungry (Regina Walden)
God Calls It Grace (Megan Mulnix, Logan Peck) **
Hear the Word of the Lord (Lee Black, Marcia Henry) **
The Evidence I Need (Dave Clark, Jason Cox, Kenna West)
I’ll Sail Away Yonder (Ila Knight)
Cost of the Cross (Kristi Fitzwater, Jerald Hill) **
Let Go and Hold Fast (Regina Walden)
Fade to Black (Randy Crawford) **
Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace (Sandy Knight) **
Legacy (Barbara Fairchild, Marty Funderburk)

READER RATING:

[Total: 5    Average: 4/5]
Andrew Stephens
Reviewer/Contributing Writer
Andrew hails from Anderson, SC and has lived here all 25 years of his life. As a child, he attended concerts in the area and instantly became hooked on the concept of Southern Gospel music. His music collection has expanded to over 1,000 artist recordings as well as several compilations (including record label & radio promotions comps). For a couple of years or so, Andrew hosted a blog, "Southern Gospel Review", and did articles ranging from specialty (Hits of the Past), album reviews (CD, DVD, & Vinyl), and other interesting tidbits (recording oddities, etc.).

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