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Malaco Records

The Pilgrim Jubilees
The Year of Jubilee

It's been fifty years since Clay Graham and Cleave Graham took The Pilgrim Jubilees from their native Mississippi to Chicago, hooked up with Major Robinson to form the nucleus of one of the most respected quartets and proceed to make Gospel history.

CDThe Jubes are back again with an album fittingly titled The Year of Jubilee. The release on Malaco Records draws on a live recording session at the Livingston Performing Arts Center in Morton, Mississippi in 2002, and supplements with some studio cuts.

We're glad to say that there's not much by way of surprises on the project —why mess with what's worked for half a century? New songs, a sermon song and the return of some classic material make The Year of Jubilee just what the quartet doctor ordered. Vic Allen's horns adds to the usual stellar band work of Bobby McDougal, Eddie Graham, Greg Harris, Mike Atkins and Marco Atkins.

"Raining In Somebody's Life" kicks things off, a rousing encouragement from Clay Graham over an incessantly infectious grove that God continually comes through to meet our needs.

Book
book Journalist Alan Young writes the definitive biography of The Pilgrim Jubilees, chronicling the beginnings of the quartet in Horse Nation, Mississippi and following them to Chicago where they begin to set the Gospel world on fire with their patented and oft-imitated rhythmic drives and vocal spreads.

Young doesn't just write about the group, he also followed them around the concert circuit, including verbatim transcriptions of one on one interviews with Clay and Cleave Graham and Major Robinson as well as several others.

Published in 2001 by University Press of Mississippi, this nearly 300 page book is a fascinating read, giving insight into The Pilgrim Jubilees, their contemporaries and the quartet community at large. It also offers a heavily detailed discography.
Major Robinson takes lead on "Jesus Take A Seat", with The Jubes' soft harmonies in the background. Robinson also brings back "Call Him Up" from the group's days with Peacock Records back in the mid 1970s.

Also making a comeback is Bobby McDougal's tender song, "Hand In Hand", which first appeared on the group's Nashboro "Don't Close In On Me" albu from 1976. Guitar and string strains color this balladic song.

Benjamin Cone III and Worship were tapped to provide choir support, and do so wonderfully on "Work on Me", with Jerry Smith's piano adding to the light drive as The Jubes pour their heart and soul on top.

No Pilgrim Jubilee album would be complete without one of the group's patented sermon songs. No exception here as the seven-minute "Battle Songs" is used to deliver God's Word from II Chronicles 20. Clay Graham uses the account of King Jehoshaphat's God-ordained victory over the Ammonites and Moabites using praise instead of weapons to launch into a medley of hymns, including "I Know It Was the Blood" and "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".

Concluding this superb project is the audience participation favorite, "Just Like He Said", where the group invites members of the crowd to take the mic.

More Quartets ---> Click Here



Producer: Clay Graham
album release date: October, 2003
Malaco Records


— review by Stan North


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