Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Any group that can claim a “70th Anniversary Celebration” is clearly not your average bunch of Nashville fly-by-nights. In fact, as all aficionados of the golden Age Of Gospel will know, the Hummingbirds were one of THE groups of the quartet era. Of course their classic days are long past, though Ira Tucker still has a mighty pair of lungs and more soul power than any R&B superstar you’d care to mention. Here the elder statesmen understandably take it easy, with over-exposed anthems like “How Great Thou Art” along the full-tilt church wreckers, but even if occasionally their harmonies creak, they still belt out that old-time religion with theatrical aplomb. There are guests aplenty for this extended tribute (recorded at the home of the Sound Of Philadelphia, Sigma Sound Studios) including Paul Simon, Isaac Hayes, Howard Hewitt, Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack and Stevie Wonder, and it’s the latter superstar who adds his support to the album’s sublime moment, an absolutely stunning, funked up version if Stevie’s oldie “Have A Talk With God”. For that track alone, this album is worth investigating, even if you’re not quite as old as its wrinkled performers.
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