The Swanee Quintet - The Complete Nashboro Releases 1951-62

Published Friday 28th October 2016
The Swanee Quintet - The Complete Nashboro Releases 1951-62
The Swanee Quintet - The Complete Nashboro Releases 1951-62

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 162888-24290
LABEL: Acrobat Music

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

This 53 track, two disc compilation features all the songs that the earliest incarnation of gospel vocal group the Swanee Quintet released for the Nashboro label during the period of 1951 to 1962 including both sides of all singles as well as tracks from the two long players they recorded. Whilst the group's sound is by no means unique with countless other acts of the time sounding similar to the Swanees, there is no doubting the skill and prolificacy with which they plied their trade. Presented in chronological order, it's possible to see the group gently and slowly evolve throughout the represented decade although for the most part the format of harmonies backed only by Pee Wee Crawford's guitar as found on big sellers such as "Sit Down Servant" and "Cry Sometimes" remains the same. As the informative liner notes state in a quote taken directly from a Tony Cummings article, the Swanees later added bass, piano, organ and drums in an attempt to keep up with the times but those new-fangled instruments were played unobtrusively enough so as not to distract from the vocalists and therefore the gospel message found within each song. Thanks to the similar sounding nature of the release and the grainy quality of many of the recordings, this is at times a bit of marathon if listened to in one sitting but it's nonetheless a hugely worthwhile and fascinating document of one of gospel music's most important acts.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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