Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Southern Sons of Memphis: Another Dimension - Live

The Southern Sons of Memphis
Another Dimension – Live
SOME Records (2011)

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Anchored by lead vocalist Bob Holloway, the Southern Sons of Memphis, Tennessee have a traditional, funky southern soul sound that evokes the musical richness of their native city.

Save for the final two selections, the Another Dimension – Live DVD captures the Memphis quartet in live performance—interstitial comments and all—at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in South Haven, Mississippi. What you witness is a serious, no-nonsense singing group that eschews fancy choreography and bench-walking for crisp harmonies and tight musicianship. The mild-mannered Holloway (“I’m country as I can be,” he declares at one point in the video) is at his most animated when he starts to hard-singing, which is frequently. At turns, he shouts with an almost otherworldly fury.

“Lord, I Need Your Help” is the DVD’s single drive-tempo song. Despite their measured movement, “Lord Have Mercy” and “God Is Good to Me” maintain handclapping, foot-tapping rhythms. “Don’t Want to Run This Race in Vain” is as quintessentially traditional as the Southern Sons, and the lyrics of “If I Don’t Wake Up Early in the Morning” is flush with such country church vernacular as “cooling board,” “winding sheet,” and such lines as “I could have been dead, sleeping in my grave.”

The video's final two segments feature the Southern Sons singing in the recording studio. One of the selections, “Lord I Need You,” finds the group seeking Jesus’ favor “up and down the dangerous highways” and even “in the White House.” The other, “Jesus I’ll Never Forget,” is a reworking of the Soul Stirrers/Sam Cooke classic.

There’s no substitute for seeing a gospel quartet live.  For the Southern Sons of Memphis, the Another Dimension – Live DVD offers the next best thing.

Three of Five Stars

Picks: “”Lord I Need Your Help,” “Lord We Need You.”

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