CD Review: “The Diplomats Present Rita Pearson”

2008diplomatsrita.jpgSeveral weeks ago, I reviewed the Diplomats Quartet’s most recent release, Live in West Virginia. This is a solo project from the most recognizable voice in the group, alto Rita Pearson. Pearson is often compared to Vestal Goodman; as I commented in the Diplomats review, Pearson’s voice captures the raw energy of Vestal Goodman’s younger days, while Libbi Stuffle of the Perrys–the other singer on the Southern Gospel scene most frequently compared to Goodman–captures more of the polish of Vestal in her later years.

Pearson’s energy and enthusiasm shine clearly on this project. It includes several classic Happy Goodmans numbers (“God Walks the Dark Hills,” “What Heaven Means to Me,” and “I Hold a Clear Title”) and several other Southern Gospel classics

The project’s highlights include “What Heaven Means to Me,” a laid-back rendition of “Where the Roses Never Fade,” and the song “Place Called Heaven.”

The rest of the group provides background vocals on the tracks, but does not have any solos. While the project covers little new ground stylistically or in song selection, it is a solid collection of songs performed well by Pearson and the Diplomats.

Available from: The Diplomats.

Rating: Enjoyable. (Updated to 5-star system: 3.5 stars)

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