Producer: Jeff Collins
Label: Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group
It’s been 2 years since the last mainline release by the Kingsmen and outside of Ray Reece, the Kingsmen are a brand new group! With Victory Shout, we welcome Alan Kendall on baritone, Chris Bryant singing lead and rejoining Ray after a 2 year hiatus, Chris Jenkins doing an amazing job singing tenor. I started listening to this latest with release with extremely high expectations and while this a great recording, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
With horns blazing, the Sandy Knight penned, “RUNNING TO WIN” gets the recording off and running before slowing down for the soulful feel of “JUST CLIMB”, which features Chris Jenkins. I can see this song being released as a single and doing well for the group.
The up-tempo “I’VE EVER BEEN GLAD” is a great feature for Ray Reece and features that signature Kingsmen sound before moving on to the title song, “VICTORY SHOUT”, which is destined to be a chart-topper for the Kingsmen and is the triumph of the recording. This song made me excited to hear the rest of this recording! Penned by Jason Cox and Kenna Turner-West, it’s one of the strongest songs at radio right now!
Over the last several years, the Kingsmen have stepped outside of the “Three Chords and a Cloud of Dust” box that defined them for many years and “DEAR JOHN”, featuring Chris Bryant, is the most progressive offering found here. Penned by Jason Cox, Joseph Habedank and Kenna Turner-West, it’s a highlight of the recording and is different than anything else found here.
Alan Kendall steps up to sing the medium tempo, “IT STILL CHANGES ME” before the tempo slows back down for the power ballad, “KING OF KINGS”, penned by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson.
The tempo picks back up for the Larry Gatlin penned, “PRODIGAL SON”. The Kingsmen originally recorded it back in 1991, and this new rendition of the song is much faster than the 1991 version…maybe even too fast! If I wasn’t already very familiar with their original version, I may have a different opinion, but I felt the tempo could have been slowed down a tad.
The recording closes out with 2 medium tempo tunes, “YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS FOR ME” and “THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME” (this would be a good choice as a single as well).
Being a life-long Kingsmen fan, I’ll admit I’ve struggled some with their music for the last 12-14 years and long for the same excitement I felt when I listen to their music from 20-30 plus years ago. I came into this expecting a power-house recording. While there are some great songs here, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. There are enough shining moments found here that make this a great recording. But hopefully, as these guys gel and become more comfortable singing with one another, that fire of excitement will come, because the spark is still there!
(stars denote personal favorites)
Running to Win
I’ve Ever Been Glad**
It Still Changes Me**
King of Kings
You’ll Move Mountains for Me
That’s Where You’ll Find Me**