The Bolton Brothers
Revival in Atlanta
When six preaching brothers from a family of 20 children come together, it’s hard to go wrong.Producers: Melvin Williams and Doug Williams
album release date: August, 2001
The Bolton Brothers continue in their excellent ways on their third project for Blackberry Records, this time moving beyond the bounds of Memphis into Atlanta.
Their decades of singing experience shine through on every note on this new project, titled Revival in Atlanta. There’s nothing real fancy here, and that’s a good thing. Because you shouldn’t fiddle with great traditional group singing.
The project is crammed with songs that lean on the tried and true themes of old, with encouragement, exhortation, anticipation and testimony all wrapped up in hearty vocals under the production guidance of The Williams Brothers.
Kicking things off is “Come & Go”, an apt introductory number for no other reason than four of the Boltons take their turn on lead. The songs motors on with rich and busy keyboard support till half way through, when key changes kick into heavy drive, relentless pushing the as heaven is described in wonder.
Vocal interplay is always excellent with The Bolton Brothers, with trading leads and some wonderful and sometimes wordless improvisations. On this CD, you can hear all of this on the slowly turning “I’m Going Through”, one of several songs that also features the New Hope Baptist Church Choir with overdub supplements from Jackson Mississippi’s EnPraise Singers. At just under eight minutes, it’s still too short.
On “To See Jesus”, brothers James and L.W. share the mic on the soft start, with falsetto entries and only touches of instrumentation behind them. To shouts of encouragement from the congregation, the song moves into the main melody which has some interesting and unexpected twists. The second half of this album jewel (the song is split into two tracks) brings in brother James as well as the renowned Bishop James Morton, who pastors the New Beginning Full Gospel Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia, where the album was recorded.
The Bolton Brothers satisfy demand for no doubt traditional quartet singing several times, with songs such as “Let It Be Real” and “Bless The Name of Jesus”. Their interpretation of the familiar “Come By Here” is excellent.
“Oh How I Love You” is one of a couple of cuts that uses churchy sounding rhythms with non-traditional beats. Semi-contemporary chorus backing from choirs amidst wailing guitar from Undra Watts underlines the vocals as Minister Cedric King and James Bolton share lead.
Revival in Atlanta is just that a revival, and a classic too.
reviewed by Stan North —
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