The Sounds of Blackness
The Sounds of Blackness are renowned for their enthusiastic expansion and exploration of musical avenues, with a 'Gospel sound' influence.Producers: Gary Hines, Billy Steele and Levi Seacer, Jr. JeffMajors
album release date: November 26, 2002
Now, furthering their exploration by launching their very own record label (Sounds of Blackness Records), the veteran musical group has released an ambitious potpourri of an album titled Soul Symphony.
Under the continued direction of Gary Hines, the album takes its title from its division into five movements, similar to the construction of a classical symphony. And, maybe also because with their patented tribute to musical diversity, the album is a symphony of sounds that meld the Gospel sound to R&B, reggae, blues, soul and beyond.
Sprinkled throughout the album are some ultra brief, nearly acappella interpretations of some of the more familiar spirituals.
The first movement, subtitled Rhapsody in Reality, is noted for the beautiful cover of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven", with guest artist Ron Winans on lead.
It also contains the album's certified hit, the stirring, funky and inspirational first single from the project "Don't You Ever Give Up", featuring Billy Steele, Yulanda Lunn and Darius Ewing on vocals. "Heaven on Earth" is also nicely grooved, with some familiar Blackness chord changes and a bumpy track.
The Trilogy of Trouble movement is brassy, bluesy collection of three songs on a theme loosely based on the spirituals "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and "Motherless Child", but consistent with much of the album, has a social commentary edge and so is better classified as 'positive' rather than Gospel.
Other suites on the project have style-revealing titles such as "Concerto of Cool" and "Ode to Old School", both filled with uplifting, brief compositions in multiple, percussive-filled styles, true to Sounds of Blackness form.
The album ends with a rousing and creative "ragtime, reggae" mix and cover of The Pointer Sisters' "Yes, We Can Can".
Sounds of Blackness Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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