3:1 CD Review: American Christian (Melody Boys Quartet)
1. Mike Franklin: American Christian welcomes longtime alumnus Mike Franklin back to the group. Even if his voice isn’t your all-time favorite tenor voice, it is the voice you expect to hear at the Melody Boys’ tenor microphone. There is no question that they made the right hire by bringing him back.
2. “Forever Paradise”: Suppose someone plays this CD for you and asks you to name which of the mid-tempo quartet songs are classics. If you didn’t know that this was a new song by Dianne Wilkinson and Jerry Kelso, this would probably be the first one you named. Its authentic old-school feel hits the Melody Boys’ sweet spot dead-center.
3. “The Shepherd”: This ballad features tenor Mike Franklin. The strings are subdued enough to permit the Melody Boys to ably adapt the tenor ballad style to their trademark sound.
:1. One thing I would change: “Put Your Hand in the Hand”: The Melody Boys’ voices leave them at their strongest singing the styles popular in Southern Gospel circles in the 1930s and 1940s, prior to Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers influences. They are at their best when they stick to old and new songs which would have sounded at home on recordings and radio shows from this era.
Traditional or Progressive
Radio Single Picks
“Forever Paradise,” “The Shepherd”
Producer: Vic and Toni Clay. • Group members: Mike Franklin (tenor), Chris Walton (lead), Dean Porter (baritone), Gerald Williams (bass). • Review copy provided. • Song list: Keep Walking; Shadows; Put Your Hand in the Hand; Welcome Home; Love So Divine; American Christian; The Shepherd; The Rest of My Days; Forever Paradise; The Healer of Broken Hearts.