Classic CD Review: Love’s Sweet Story (Poet Voices)

poetvoicesstoryRating: 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.

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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.

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7 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Daniel,
    This was Poet Voices first recording as a quartet. Their first three recordings were trio (that is the way the group started) recordings.

  2. I auditioned for Poet Voices back in 2001. At the time the lineup was Phil Cross on lead, Dale Brock on tenor, Tim Duncan on base and Richie Works on piano. Donny Henderson had just left the baritone spot and Scott Inman later landed the job.

    I thought that lineup was a very good one as well, as you mentioned in the original post.

  3. This is one of my favorite CDs that Poet Voices did.

  4. Does anyone know why they put Roman numerals with the cd titles? With this one it said “Love’s Sweet Story IV.” With “This Changes Everything” it said Chapter 6 or something like that. Another one was “Pilgrim Song Volume 7.” Is this to mark each of their cd releases?

  5. As Seaton said, this CD began the quartet era for Poet Voices. They were one of my top five groups during this time period (right up there with the Cathedrals and Gold City). This CD is probably my second favorite Poet Voices CD (right behind “Trust The Truth”). The vocal lineup on these two CD’s was excellent.

  6. Andrew, that’s something they started with the first release of Our God is Marching On (1992). They all got Volume Numbers except for Hymns, Foundation (present group and the time singing the group’s previously recorded song), and 10th Anniversary Live (same premise as Foundation but done live). Pilgrim Song (Volume 7) was the last one to be labeled as a volume. For some reason This Changes Everything was called Chapter 1 and then Turn to the One was called Chapter 2 and the group was retired shortly after that. Timeless 1 (collection of quartet standards) was released between Chapters 1 and 2. When the group was brought back they didn’t number them anymore (to my knowledge). I’d like to know why instead of continuing with Volume 8 and 9 that they did Chapter 1 and 2. The vocal personnel was the same in the transition.

  7. I just emailed Phil to ask.