“We cut a record!” Michael Booth exclaimed, holding up a CD with enthusiasm at the end of one of the most anticipated concerts this year. (2013) When the Booth Brothers and Gene McDonald came together at the Memphis Quartet Show and sang as the “Booth Brothers Quartet” earlier this June, fans eagerly awaited this new experience since it was scheduled. Besides a wonderful afternoon matinee with songs, jokes and arrangements you’ve never heard before from the BB’s, was the scene above, when Michael Booth announced that they recorded a CD with everything we just heard on it. From the line that sprawled out from their product table after the concert, Quartet Style may be their biggest hit yet!
Produced by Nick Bruno and all the members of the Booth Brothers, this CD brings back ten classic quartet songs from the “Golden Days” of Gospel Music. The arrangements are basic, yet, profound. Each track matches the song it represents with a precision that you would expect from its producers. The standard band (piano, drums, bass and lead guitar) can be clearly heard on every track and even a few strings find their way amongst the ballads. Recorded as a tribute the quartets who have gone before, the style of music on this project hit’s the mark of perfection with ease. This CD could easily have been recorded 50 years ago! (…and that’s a complement!)
On this project you will hear vocals from…
Tenor – Michael Booth
Lead – Ronnie Booth
Baritone – Jim Brady
Bass – Gene McDonald
1. His Hand In Mine
Feature: Jim Brady
Message: Beginning as a monologue, an experienced Believer shares their thoughts on life to those who may doubt that God is real and question the promises that flow from the mouths of Christians. His answer? – Those who know the feel of the Father’s hand in theirs need no other proof. The chorus continues with the thoughts of the Lord’s faithfulness. He holds our hands, guides us and understands when we fall. From now to the day we walk through the pearly gates we can sense His hand clasping ours and love Him for it. The topic of friends comes up in the second verse. Some of them walk away when we need them most while others never see the pain we experience through trials, but the Lord not only sees each tear, but gently wipes them away.
Other Comments: With a slow but steady beat, the quartet sings the first verse as a whole, giving Gene a line or two on the chorus and featuring Jim Brady on the second verse.
2. Roll On Jordan
Feature: Gene McDonald
Message: Visions of the lovely shore are brought before us in this tune about heaven. The Jordan River, is often used as symbol of death. In the first verse this river is brought before us as that event we must cross before entering paradise. In spite of the dread that thought may bring, the chorus looks at it as a joyful occasion and beckons the waves to gently roll on.
Other Comments: Southern Gospel songs are known for taking something like death and making it into something positive. (Maybe this is best seen in Goodbye, World, Goodbye.) On the other hand, this tune takes it a step farther…personifying Jordan as death and then using the chorus to speak to it. Quite unique when you think about it!
3. The Lovely Name Of Jesus
Feature: Jim Brady
Message: The name of Jesus can do marvelous things, and in the first verse, we get a list of them. It can calm fear, doubt and impart to the soul a sense of praise. The cloudy skies flee and the sun shines brightly, says the chorus, for when we hear His name all burdens, anguish and sorrow vanish. The second verse goes on to say that the most valuable treasure and desire you’ve longed for will suddenly become reality, for as the last line exclaims, “I found them all when I found Him!”
Other Comments: I really enjoyed this song! It has a good beat and a well crafted message. This is one that will really give you a feel for how the BB’s sound with a bass singer. Though it doesn’t feature Gene, it’s easy to hear the “full” sound that comes along with him!
4. His Name Is Wonderful
Feature: All vocals
Message: Beginning with the chorus, we hear the familiar words, “His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, Jesus my Lord…” Mighty King and Master, purely wonderful. (The chorus is repeated twice at the beginning.) The verse speaks of the Lord being the Shepherd, the Rock of Ages and Almighty God. We are then beckoned to bow down and worship this One who’s name is so great.
Other Comments: Though this is a very repetitive song, it’s arrangement is very worshipful. Also, the arrangement constantly changes – when the track opens all the guys sing it, when it’s repeated only the tenor, lead and baritone continue on, leading into harmony and different parts. The climax of the song is when Gene takes the verse, “He’s the great shepherd…” A very moving piece.
5. I Am The Man
Feature: Ronnie Booth
Message: Jonah knew what it was like to run from God – in this little song, we hear what he had to say about it! As the boat reeled recklessly to and fro in the waves, Jonah cried out, “I am the man running from the Lord! Throw me out!” He goes to say in this chorus that he’s the one responsible for the storm they were in and once they tossed him overboard, a calm would descend on the sea. While the chorus speaks from the view point of Jonah, the verse takes on the outlook of a preacher who earnestly tells his listeners not to act like Jonah! If the Lord calls you to something – do it! Disobedience will only lead you into trouble.
Other Comments: This is my favorite song from Quartet Style! Ronnie does an excellent job on the verse and just nails it! The BB’s re-cut this song from the Statesmen and I’m so glad they brought it back. It had been a favorite of mine when the Kingsmen recorded it in the 90’s…
6. Good Ole Gospel Singing
Feature: All vocals
Message: Beginning with the first verse, a narrating voice recalls the days when the “church house was filled with people” who were singing and praising the Lord in song. The music was so infectious, you couldn’t help but join them! The chorus calls it, “Good ole Gospel singing,” and others are invited to join in until we get the whole world singing it too! Old songs like Rock Of Ages, In The Sweet Bye and Bye and many other titles and lines from the hymns are blended together in the second verse.
Other Comments: Written by Mosie Lister, this snappy quartet song holds a rare record in Gospel Music. According to Michael Booth, since it’s first appearance with the Rebels, this barn burner has never been re-cut by another quartet…until now. I happen to agree with Michael, that this song is just too good to be filed away, it should heard and enjoyed in the modern world.
7. Dear Jesus Abide With Me
Feature: Michael Booth
Message: The presence of God in one’s life is the plea of this hymn. From the long hard road we travel every day to the blissful shore that lay up ahead, the first verse of this ballad contemplates the path that leads home. As the chorus begins, the writer has only two requests while on this earth – that Jesus would stay by his side and that his life would be live in accordance to the standard of God’s Word. This same one stands on the shores of Jordan in the second verse, clinging to the promise that when it comes his time to pass his Lord will be there, and beyond, will be a life free of heartache, sorrow and pain.
Other Comments: This is the first song on the project that features Michael and is a fitting ballad to feature the tenor part. (Reminds me of Michael’s solo Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet.)
8. I Want To Know
Feature: Gene McDonald
Message: The assurance of our salvation is brought out in this fun quartet song. Again and again, the lyric declares “I want to know…” that He’ll be pleased to accept this child of God home and that this one will live in the heavenly city. These facts, in themselves, are enough to satisfy him. While the chorus is made up of what we want to know, the verses explain some things we don’t know. For one, the day of the Lord’s returning is yet a mystery. “But,” the lyrics state, “I must be prepared to go.”
Other Comments: Though this is another classic brought back from the days of the Statesmen, it has recently been re-popularized by the Mark Trammell Quartet. The arrangement on Quartet Style and the one that reached the #1 position on the SN Charts with MTQ last year are very different. Which one is more pleasing to the ear, is up to the listener to decide.
9. While Ages Roll
Feature: Ronnie Booth
Message: Endless praise is the theme of this classic Gospel song. The verses talk about joining the choir in heaven and when the time that “stammering tongues will falter no more” and finally, join the King of Kings. Throughout the ages, the praise will continue, says the refrain, and the voice that so often loses its strength down here, will never miss a note or waver once in that perfect land. “Praise the Lamb who died for me!” will forever be the song of the redeemed. Going into the second verse, the lyrics talk about how a million years can pass and that song of glory and honor to our Lord will seem like it just began. In fact, all of eternity is not long enough to praise Him.
Other Comments: Ronnie does an excellent job on this classic and I’m so glad it made it on this project. There is nothing like hearing some of your favorite vocalists bring back these older songs and make something new!
10. Sweetest Song I Know
Feature: Jim Brady
Message: The opening verse of this tune compares and contrasts all the songs the writer has heard, old and new, of homecomings and redemption, but yet, there is one that surpasses them all. Before we get a chance to ponder what that hymn is, the chorus plays off the words and answers with, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!” This indeed, is the sweetest song to any Believers ear! The writer goes on to say in the second stanza that Amazing Grace was the song his mother sang, heavenly music that flowed into his soul from a young age.
Other Comments: This upbeat song is performed just the way you would expect from a “traditional quartet.” Jim Brady takes the second verse and executes the lyrics like only he can do – it’s impossible to listen to this song and not smile!
Conclusion: Quartet Style is a must have for Booth Brother fans! But not only that, it is a must have for quartet fans as well. Old songs performed by modern voices. It’s perfect. A project like this is designed to feature a well known trio with a bass singer, so one would expect a lot of bass features, which Quartet Style contains. On the other hand, this project is also designed to give the listener an idea of what the other singers sound like with a bass completing the sound. You will find this brilliantly displayed here. So basically, why not add it to your collection if you haven’t already?
You can purchase this CD HERE.