Classic CD Review: Love’s Sweet Story (Poet Voices)
Rating: 4 stars (of 5)
Average Song Rating: 3.8 stars (of 5)
Song List: Ten Thousand Years; We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials; Sail On; Great Gettin’ Up Morning; It’ll Be Joy; When Jesus Comes in the Clouds; This World is Not My Home; Love Will Roll the Clouds Away; Saved and You Know It; Amen.
Available From: Label.
* * *
Poet Voices toured as a full-time quartet from 1991 through 2002. Several years after the group retired, Phil Cross brought the name back for a part-time trio.
Love’s Sweet Story, originally released in 1996 and recently digitally reissued by Crossroads, gives a glimpse of the group at the beginning of their most popular era. This lineup had what is the best lineup lead singer Phil Cross ever assembled (with the possible exception of the final lineup): Tenor Tony Jarman, baritone Howard Stewart, bass Mike Allen, and pianist Channing Eleton. Jarman, of course, would go on to be tenor for Legacy Five, Mike Allen would become a Homecoming Friends favorite, and Channing Eleton would be part of Gold City during their Parrack/Wilburn/Trammell/Riley years.
Unlike most Poet Voices projects, which showcase songs penned by Phil Cross, this project focuses on Southern Gospel classics. The project starts with “Ten Thousand Years,” penned by Phil Cross’s mentor Elmer Cole. The group pulls out all the stops and does an excellent rendition of the song. Other highlights include “It’ll Be Joy” and “We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials,” two uptempo convention classics featuring Mike Allen.
Most Southern Gospel fans have heard these voices in later groups. But this project’s appeal goes beyond the novelty of hearing otherwise familiar voices in this combination—this project is, quite simply, great quartet singing.