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Gospel Roots

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Album Review

It seemed like the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers had celebrated their 1,000th anniversary with Gospel Roots. Released in 1990, this features the venerable and influential group keeping up with the times and still offering great music. Unlike many gospel acts of the time, crossover at this point was a non-starter. That very fact will make a fan love this even more. The antithesis of the work of Take 6 and or even the Winans, Gospel Roots boasts an earthier, rough-hewed tone. For the most part, the messages here are pithy, felt and delivered with a sense of commitment. The pretty "Reach Out" and "Stay on the Line" typify the style and offer those warm, cathartic harmonies. Of course, when talking about Gospel Roots, one has to think of the album's centerpiece, "Barnyard." While a cotton field, a religious and praying young man, and a vicious overseer aren't the things of Top 40 hits, "Barnyard" makes it all work. Like many early-'90s gospel albums, the "newfangled" synths may deter from the production for some. It's a small complaint, though. Gospel Roots will appeal to true gospel aficionados as well as any lover of strong harmonies.

Gospel Roots, The Pilgrim Jubilees
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