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Album Review

Take 6 faces the classic problem for an act that crosses genres — in their case from gospel to R&B — to retain what makes them so effective in their original field (and keep their original audience) while expanding their scope beyond it. They owed their original impact to the awe they inspired as six a cappella singers, and so revitalized gospel. That was on their first, million-selling album; by their third, they had added instruments and taken a more conventional approach. Here, on their fourth, they fell between chairs, with Brian McKnight's production and musical arrangements making them sound like a more wholesome Boyz II Men while they wrote first-person songs with titles like "You Don't Have to Be Afraid" and "I'll Be There" as if speaking in the name of Christ while sounding suspiciously like a boyfriend. Of course, that's an old gimmick in crossover Christian music, but the old problem is that it never gets sexy enough to be convincing. The difference was marked in a song like "Jesus Makes Me Happy," when the group really laid their cards on the table and sounded more fervent as a result. But there wasn't enough of that on an album that frequently masked the group's real strengths.


Formed: 1985 in Alabama

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With roots in gospel, doo wop, and sophisticated jazz-influenced singing groups of mid-century America, the a cappella group Take 6 are a throwback to an earlier era of American music, and they were a precursor for a number of black male pop groups of the '90s, most notably Boyz II Men. The group's membership includes Alvin Chea, Khristian Dentley (who replaced Cedric Dent in 2011), Mark Kibble, Claude V. McKnight III (brother of Brian McKnight), Joey Kibble (who replaced Mervyn Warren in 1991),...
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Brothers, Take 6
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