CD Review: The Son Came Down (The Inspirations)

inspirationsRating: 5 stars (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 4.3 stars (of 5)

Members: Dallas Rogers (tenor), David Ragan (lead), Melton Campbell (baritone), Mike Holcomb (bass), Martin Cook (pianist), Myron Cook (bassist).

Song List: I Know Where He Lives; Dealing With Gold; Stone’s Throw Away; The Son Came Down; Crown Him King; Thinking More of Heaven; Heaven Knows Where I’ve Been; The Potter; Thank God I’ve Made It; Walkin’ By Faith.

* * *

With a lineup as stable as they have maintained for decades, any member change in the Inspirations is a big deal. Two changes between one project and the next is a really big deal. And make one of those changes founding member Archie Watkins being replaced by Dallas Rogers, and you have something completely unprecedented in Inspirations history.

So there was understandably a good deal of anticipation for the Inspirations’ first project with David Ragan and Dallas Rogers. Would it hold its own in the group’s impressive repertoire?

The Son Came Down holds its own, and then some.

One of the most unique aspects of the project is the extent to which the Inspirations picked songs from writers whose songs they haven’t cut previously. Dianne Wilkinson got her first Inspirations cuts (ever) on this project, with the hymn-like title track and the uptempo convention song “Crown Him King” (featuring Rogers and Holcomb).

Joseph Habedank, who co-wrote the Inspirations’ top 5 hit “The Rose” (#4 in January ’09), had three cuts on the project. He co-wrote the project’s first track, “I Know Where He Lives,” with Rodney Griffin. The song has a similar concept to the Perrys’ current single, “If You Knew Him,” also penned by Habedank and Griffin—though it has a quite different, convention-style feel. Songwriting teachers tell you that if you have a great idea that doesn’t fit a song, save it because it could be another song. Could both songs have come from the same writing session?

There are also two songs penned by Habedank and former Perrys pianist Matthew Holt, the uptempo “Stone’s Throw Away” and mid-tempo song “The Potter.”

On more familiar turf, Sandy Knight, who has contributed many songs to the Inspirations through the years, penned the stunningly beautiful “Dealing With Gold.” The song features Dallas Rogers; it’s one of his two features on the project, the other being a re-cut of the Inspirations classic “Thank God I’ve Made It.”

Rogers came into the Inspirations with several years of experience in three or four professional groups; new lead singer David Ragan, on the other hand, is new to the professional Gospel scene. He has already been winning praise for his features on this project, and it looks as though he should be able to fill the fairly large shoes of the position quite capably. Campbell and Holcomb are as solid as ever.

Not only is it still the Inspirations, but they are sounding better than ever. The Son Came Down is a winner.


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18 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Thanks for the review. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

    You mentioned that they re-cut “Thank God I Made It”. Can anyone tell me when they first recorded it? I have looked everywhere. I got it from a compilation CD, but I cannot find what album it was on originally.

    • http://www.theinspirations.com/Museum_Discography.htm

      It is on “Is that Footprints that I Hear?”

      • Thanks! The sghistory.com discography has that album, but for some reason the song is left off the song list! I really appreciate it!

  2. 5 stars—WOW!!! You’re in a league all your on when it comes to bloggers.

  3. Between this and another review I read somewhere, I’m seriously interested in this CD.

    Hey, did you change that “notify” box from being checked by default? I’m finding it clear whenever I go to un-check it. Thanks for whatever you did, if you did anything!

    • Yeah. I don’t always make decisions quickly, but I pondered what you said, and ended up concluding that your preference was, in fact, the best option.

      Oh, and by the way, if you just get individual tracks from iTunes, keep “Dealing With Gold” and “Crown Him King” on your short list. 🙂

      • Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind.

        I dunno, you might generate more comments by notifying people automatically, but I try to keep my email volume down myself.

        I have only bought one entire Inspirations album (as opposed to individual tracks). I got it off of iTunes. I have to say, it was worth the money. They are a good, solid group. Nothing “flashy,” but they have songs with a lot of meaning.

        Is the “Crown Him King” not the one the Cathedrals did a couple of times?

      • No, it’s a different song – an excellent new song from the pen of Dianne Wilkinson, a classic convention-style song featuring the tenor and bass. 🙂

      • No it’s not. That confused me at first. I thought he was saying “Crown Him King”, the old Luther Presley convention song, was written by Dianne Wilkinson. Then I went and listened to a preview of the song and saw it was a different song by the same name. Sounded good, though.

        Last I checked, this album wasn’t on iTunes yet…I’m waiting…

  4. I just checked. No, it’s not on iTunes yet, but you can buy DRM-free high-quality tracks from Crossroads:

    http://www.crossroadsmusic.com/release/inspirations/HR12442/

    • Yeah, I was looking at that yesterday and will probably pull the trigger soon if iTunes doesn’t get with the program.

    • OK, I got “Dealing With Gold,” “The Son Came Down,” “I Know Where He Lives,” and “Crown Him King.” I only listened on my laptop speakers, but it still sounds just like the Inspirations – I didn’t know how they could pull that off, but they did.

      “Dealing With Gold” strikes me as the stand-out of these four tracks. The second verse really did get my attention, as this summer I watched our former pastor’s wife lose her husband unexpectedly, and I know that life lost a lot of its meaning for her.

      I may get the rest of the album sooner or later.

      • Glad you liked it! That track was my favorite, too.

        They could pull it off because Dallas’s voice is different but so Inspirations-style that it just works. 🙂

  5. Great review Daniel. I think it is one of their best! I was definitely anxious to hear the new lineup and they did not disappoint. Dallas is a perfect fit and does such a great job! God bless u!

  6. Wow, i’m glad it got a high rank, since i just ordered it from Springside Marketing. This cover looks so similar to their older album , something like “Yes i Will Be there”.

  7. I purchased this CD today as well as the new Dove Brothers project… Both are great! I went to see the Inspirations 35 years ago and have never purchased any of their recordings. Their sound has just never done much for me. But based on Daniel’s review and Dallas Rogers, I went for it. I really enjoyed listening to it. The Inspirations core sound and phrasing are still there – but so much improved. I can’t wait to share this one.

    JEB