The Golden Wings Quartet of Tupelo, MS
Live from Muskegon Heights, MI
Self-produced 2008

Live recordings by gospel quartets are a treat because their audiences rival those of English football clubs for their outpouring of enthusiasm and intense loyalty. Similarly, the in-person interchange between audience/fans and quartet/team inspires the latter to take play to a new level.

One example: Live from Muskegon Heights, MI, the new release from the Golden Wings Quartet of Tupelo, MS. During this program on Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline northwest of Grand Rapids, the Golden Wings demonstrate that Elvis and honey aren’t Tupelo’s only exports.

The group, featured on TBGB in January, is comprised of James Parks, Toby Coker, Cornelius Redman, Tyrone Parks and Michael Penson. “Time is winding up” is a suitable subtitle for this project, because several of the songs, including the up-tempo single, “Put Your Time In, Pay Day is Coming,” warn that time is “ticking away” and that everyone must get ready, either for a breakthrough or for the great reckoning.

Their “people get ready” message is completely apocryphal during the driving “Wake Up My Friend,” one of the project’s most exciting moments. The song will leave listeners wishing it had gone on longer.

The quintessentially quartet “drive” song seems to be the Golden Wings’ sweet spot. On “Keep Your Arm Around Me,” the lead singer shouts with the raw force of the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Jimmy Carter. From the response of the audience, this performance messed up the church but good.

Other highlights are the bluesy favorite “Keep Blessing Me” and the slow, emotional “Something About the Name of Jesus.”

The production is muscular but not so much that it distorts or buries the vocals. This album brings a taste of the live quartet experience – warts and all – into the woofers and tweeters of gospel quartet enthusiasts.

Four of Five Stars

Leave A Comment

Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.