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Oct 17

At the Peak

We southern gospel fans like to debate when our favorite groups were at their peak, had their best lineup, and were making their best music.  For example, I’ll tell it wherever I go that the Cathedrals were never better than when they were Glen, George, Mark, and Danny.  Others will argue just as strongly that they were at their best with their last lineup.  Others still prefer the smooth sounds of the ’70s version with George Amon Webster and Roy Tremble, or the original version with Bobby Clark and Danny Koker.  When these debates remain positive, they are very enjoyable and enlightening.

Let’s turn the page to today.  To really assess when a group was at their peak, you need to be a few years out from that time.  But we can still have fun thinking about it.  Which groups on the road today are, right now, making the best music in their history?

Here are three groups who, in my opinion, are currently at a peak:

  1. Mark Trammell Quartet – The Mark Trammell Quartet, formerly Trio, has done nothing but improve since their birth ten years ago.  Things really took off when Mark hired Pat Barker and made the group arguably the best-sounding quartet in the industry.  Pat’s tremendous voice and stage presence has electrified the group.  At National Quartet Convention, few groups got the response that they did with their main stage sets.  Their new album, Lifetime, is their most impressive work to date.
  2. The Inspirations – The classic quartet music of the 1970s by the Inspirations has been some of my favorite since my  childhood.  Still, I believe the Inspirations sound better than ever today.  Having to replace the three top parts in a brief period is dangerous territory, but Martin Cook hit home runs with those hires, particularly at lead, where David Ragan is a true standout.  Will the songs the Inspirations are recording today go on to become classics like those of the 1970s?  Maybe not, but the quartet has never had a smoother sound or tighter blend.
  3. The Talleys – This may be a tough one for me to defend, since I am definitely not an expert in the history and music of the Talleys.  But I’ve listened to some of their music of their past, and have listened a lot to their most recent album, Love Won.  The addition of Brian Alvey to the fold gives the Talleys one of the most dynamic sounds in the genre.  One of the best releases of the year, that project has made me a Talleys fan.

What about you?  Do you disagree with my picks?  Who are some groups you consider to be at a peak right now?  Let’s keep it positive and have fun!

2 comments

  1. Daniel J. Mount

    I would add the Collingsworth Family to that list. They still have their original lineup, and finally, after about 10 years at it, in 2009 they really started getting material worthy of their vocal abilities.

  2. yankeegospelgirl

    Probably the Booth Brothers. They’re cutting great songs and they’ve have had years to hone their sound with Brady.

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