CD Review: Decennial (Dove Brothers)
Often, when a group celebrates an anniversary like ten years on the road, they will mark it with a compilation of some of their greatest hits. But the Dove Brothers can be trusted to think outside the box, and they don’t disappoint. Decennial is a collection of eight Dove Brothers classics and two new songs—but instead of copying the tracks from older recordings, the Dove Brothers recorded fresh tracks and vocals.
Yes, they even took on the sizable challenge of breathing new life into the two pillars of their classic quartet phase, “Didn’t it Rain” and “Get Away Jordan.” The tracks aren’t all that different from the originals, but the vocal arrangements take better advantage of the Dove Brother’s wider range as a group. (The original renditions maximized the impact of the smooth mid-range bass tones of Burman Porter and the particularly rich lower tenor range of Big John Rulapaugh). “Didn’t it Rain” is in the same key as the original—A-flat—but “Get Away Jordan” is lowered a half-step, from A-flat to G. After the G David Hester sings to start the vocal arpeggio that kicks off the song, he slides down to the G an octave below, less than octave from the bottom of the piano keyboard—hitting it with a magnificently rich tone.
Two other highlights both feature tenor Jerry Martin. “When I Move to Hallelujah Square” and “Just Another Hill” show Martin’s development as a tenor. Though the former predated his years with the group, “Just Another Hill” was featured on his first project with the group. He originally sang the song in a fairly unadorned straight tone; this rendition features more of a power tenor less like his Kingsmen days but more unique.
The two new songs are both imports from Country music. “Anyway” was co-written and originally recorded by Martina McBride; Jerry Martin offers the lyric with a power tenor delivery. “My Life” was originally recorded by Ronnie Milsap, released on his on his 2006 My Life album of the same name. (Incidentally, it was the same album from which the Dove Brothers recorded “A Day in the Life of America.”)
The Dove Brothers had the audacity to remake two of their three biggest hits, and produced renditions renditions equaling the originals. Even if for no other reason, this alone makes the project worth a listen.
Rating: 4 stars. ♦ Group members: Jerry Martin, McCray Dove, Eric Dove, David Hester, Jerry Kelso. ♦ Produced by: McCray Dove. ♦ Available from: Artist. Review copy provided. ♦ Song list: When I Move to Hallelujah Square; Anyway; Didn’t it Rain; My Life; Get Away Jordan; Just Another Hill; Gonna Rise; Sweet Baby Girl; One Step; Let the Old Man Die.