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From Now On

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Album Review

Although 13 years passed between the release of Dawkins & Dawkins' third album, Focus, in 1998 and that of their fourth, From Now On, in 2011, a listen to the later disc makes it seem like only yesterday. Unfortunately, from a marketing point of view, that's because the duo of gospel brothers Anson and Eric Dawkins has not updated its sound in the ensuing years. From Now On sounds like an album made shortly after its predecessor, not more than a decade later, with trends in hip-hop having moved on in the fast-changing styles of contemporary R&B. "Time and change happen to everyone," the Dawkins brothers acknowledge in the first single, "Get Down," but they are here making music in a neo-soul/new jack swing fashion, and that went out of fashion some time back. Fortunately, a slavish adherence to the most recent sounds is more important in secular urban music than in urban gospel. Probably, many of the Dawkins' old fans will be just as happy that there isn't a rap intruding anywhere in From Now On. Leaving style aside, the brothers take a somewhat prescriptive tone in their original gospel tunes, offering admonishments to their listeners. "We were called to love the unlovable," they preach about their fellow Christians in "Ordinary," "but instead we've become untouchable." They do not exempt themselves from criticism, however, noting God's perfection, while admitting in contrast, "Then there's me, full of sinful pride." Still, other Christians can help, without being judgmental. "If you see me doing wrong," the Dawkins sing in "Pray for Me," "Why don't you pray for me/There's no need to cast a stone/Why don't you pray for me?" These are arguments with which the faithful cannot take issue. The music on From Now On may not be timely, but the message remains timeless.


Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s

Brothers Anson and Eric Dawkins began their gospel performing careers as children, teaming with their mother in a trio that appeared at revivals headlined by their father, a Pentecostal preacher. As teens, Eric also learned piano, while Anson studied drums and trumpet; they both ultimately joined the band Commissioned before breaking away as Dawkins & Dawkins in 1992, signing to the Benson label to record their self-titled debut LP, a fusion of contemporary gospel with overtones of rap and R&B. Necessary...
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From Now On, Dawkins & Dawkins
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