CD Review: “A Blackwood Homecoming” (Blackwood Singers)
Yesterday, in my review of the Blackwood Quartet’s The Way it Used to Be, I explained the history of the various Blackwood Groups. Today’s review is of A Blackwood Homecoming. The project was produced by R.W. Blackwood Jr. and Ron Blackwood of the Blackwood Singers, and Terry Blackwood. It features 17 tracks and is an expanded version of the original release. (The original release is available from Terry Blackwood’s site here and only has ten tracks.)
The project contains both new tracks and older recordings. It has vocals from the Blackwood Singers members, the Blackwood Quartet, Terry Blackwood, James Blackwood, Jimmy Blackwood, Andrea Blackwood Carter, and Kay Blackwood DeWitt. Yet despite the mix of tracks and vocalists, the recording’s sound quality is surprisingly consistent.
This sonic consistency is achieved in large part by overdubbing vocals of from various Blackwoods onto the older tracks. Most of the tracks feature a mixed group of voices, something that come as a surprise to both male quartet and mixed group fans.
However, male quartet fans need not write off the project. Four tracks on the project feature the voices from the current Blackwood Quartet–John Rulapaugh (tenor), R.W. Blackwood (lead), Ron Blackwood (baritone), and Rick Fair (bass). These songs–“Someone to Care,” “Feelin’ Mighty Fine,” “Rolling Riding Rocking,” and “How Big is God”–are some of the strongest tracks on the project, and should particularly delight all fans of John Rulapaugh during his Dove Brothers and Palmetto State Quartet days.
Rick Fair toured with Rulapaugh in the Palmetto State Quartet, singing baritone at the time. He has now moved to the bass position with this quartet. He is featured on “How Big is God” (as well as singing a few lines on “Someone to Care.”) Though his range is not as low as many other Southern Gospel bass singer, he has developed an enjoyable tone and fits well in the bass position.
Overall, I decided to give the project a rating of “Enjoyable.” But the tracks from the current Blackwood Quartet suggest that a full recording of this caliber would delight fans of classic quartet singing, and stand a strong chance of capturing a “Recommended” (or perhaps even “Highly Recommended”) rating here.
Available from: Good question. It’s available from The Blackwoods, but isn’t on their website.
Rating: Enjoyable (with several tracks Highly Recommended).