The Singletons, on F.Hammond Music

The Singletons
Pour Out Your Holy Spirit

When Fred Hammond and his F.Hammond Music label throw their support behind an artist, it is wise to sit up straight and listen.

So here come The Singletons, an 8-member family group that was first heard on Hammond’s label intro project, In Case You Missed It And Then Some (see album review) with their infectious song “Pour Out Your Holy Spirit”.

CDNow with their full length project titled with that same name, the door opens to over 55 minutes of their contemporary vocal grooves, with accents on praise.

The family-based group is rooted in Detroit and consists of sisters Camilla, Andrea & Catrice, neices Crystal, Carmen & Tia plus nephews Ryan & Alfred. Known to Hammond for years, it’s a natural that their debut would not only feature production from Gospel’s renowned urban praise pioneer, but also bring in his gifted team of contributors to lend their finesse to the project.

In addition to the already-familiar title track, there are several other songs on the album that quickly throw out attention flags. The Singletons serve notice that there is no shortage of capable soloists in their group, as each of them takes lead mic at some point on the project.

The case in point is the song “Surrender”, written by Charles Laster. All eight Singletons take turns at the mic, showing the diversity of textures and colors within their individual vocals. Joey Woolfalk’s acoustic guitar accompanies the backing harmonies that anchor the mid-tempo song.

Also in the praise and worship vein, but significantly more urban in vibe, is “Bring Him In”, which features a guest vocal shot from Hammond himself. Electric guitar from Darryl Dixon sensitively guides the melody.

The clappy rhythms of “Soles of My Feet” cleverly relies on foot stomp sounds (without overdoing it) as The Singletons put to song the familiar paraphrased text from Jesus’ direction to his disciples: “I place the soles of my feet / On whatever belongs to me / And I’ll go where He leads / ‘Cause I know it’s time to reap”. Carmen Singelton-Ellison leads on this one.

The Singletons in concert at The Commissioned Reunion“All Of My Days” offers a gorgeous mid-tempo praise with emphasis on harmonized vocals. The piece relies entirely on group singing, as The Singletons place the focus squarely on their joint desire to worship God for the rest of their lives.

Radio will no doubt dwell on the Latin enthusiasm of the album’s opening track, “Halleluiah”, with Camilla "Mooky" Singleton-Dodd’s joyous lead boosted by Hammond’s acoustic guitar and Darius Fentress’ live exotic percussion.

Other highlights are the Kim Rutherford-penned “A Season of Change”, with Tia Robertson & Camilla "Mooky" Singleton-Dodd trading leads. Hammond’s live drums push the riding groove as the song tells of God’s unfailing promise to bring us change.

The instrumentally edgy “Wait” is the vehicle for The Singletons to testify that they will withstand all storms that may come their way, and will remain in God’s perfect will. The song also comes with a bouncing street mix courtesy instrumentation from Tommy Walker.

Pour Out Your Holy Spirit is another demonstration of the inherent beauty of family groups, and that's not just because of The Singleton’s tight harmonies and effortless joint musicality (which they possess in abundance.) No, the more powerful beauty here lies in the unity of their praise.

Producer: Fred Hammond
album release date: July 23, 2002
F.Hammond Music / Verity Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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