Since 1947, fans have flocked to see The Florida Boys. They appeared on the first gospel quartet concert ever held in New York’s Carnegie Hall. To perform at Carnegie Hall is recognized as the zenith of one’s career. With No. 1 hits like “Standing On The Solid Rock”, “When He Was On The Cross, I Was On His Mind”, “Lead Me To The Altar” and “I Lean On You Lord”, this legendary group has recorded over 100 albums and attained a following of devoted listeners, including the late Elvis Presley.
The latest two offerings from the legendary group was released this year.
1). Time Out:
This project is a tribute to great songs of the past from not only the Florida Boys but from the Blackwood Brothers, Chuck Wagon Gang and the Cathedral Quartet.
Interestingly, the album starts off with a ballad which is unusual in any genre release. I Know A Man Who Can features new tenor singer Nathan Parrish. This is an excellent arrangement and Parrish delivers good vocals to complement the solid instrumentation.
I’d Rather Have Jesus is the Chuck Wagon Gang version of the song. This is another fine arrangement with quality vocals and tight harmonies.
Then I Met Jesus is an interesting tune that I could only find on a live performance by the Florida Boys decades ago. This one features newcomer Jimmy Reno on baritone and he does not disappoint. Smooth vocals and a nice higher end on his range make this one an excellent cut off the album.
Walking Talking With My Lord may be the best cut off the album. This pays homage to the Blackwood Brothers quartet. The song features bass singer Joe “Todd” Armstrong and Reno on the verses. Armstrong delivers a powerful low bass performance and Reno seems to have channeled his inner James Blackwood with the verses.
Farther Along is another highlight of the album. This features the powerful vocals of Armstrong again and is a remake of the Florida Boys original version.
This album overall is a solid effort by the group and shows the new lineup has the vocals and harmonies to make some noise in the industry. The only complaint is there are 8 songs as opposed to the usual 10. But I assume that’s why there were 2 albums released.
Album rating 4 out of 5 stars.
2). Everything’s Alright:
This project is another 8 song release.
It starts off with an upbeat tune entitled Everything’s Alright. This number features Parrish on tenor and is a catchy tune.
I Met The Master has been recorded over the years by many groups. The Booth Brothers currently have an arrangement on this number as does Gold City quartet. This arrangement is the original one as recorded by Jake Hess. This offering features Reno on lead and he performs this cut with emotion and with the added tight harmonies, this cut stands out on the album. Forget the newer arrangements recently that have come out; this homage to the original easily tops those efforts.
When God Dips His Love In My Heart was recorded by such artists as Hank Williams and Allison Krauss. This one features Armstrong on bass and he nails it with his low tones.
Scars In The Hands Of Jesus is a remake of the original Florida Boys classic tune. Tenor Nathan Parrish provides his best performance off either album on this number. As with I Met The Master, this one is a standout off the album.
If Jesus Came To Your Town recorded previously by both George Jones and the Oakridge Boys, the Florida Boys decided to go with the George Jones arrangement and produced a solid effort. This one features lead singer Charlie Waller and the message of the song combined with the excellent vocals make this one a nice highlight.
The Florida Boys have been around a long time and have produced many hits over the years. These two releases offer some of the groups best material in a number of years. The two newcomers have added a lot to the group. Parrish is a fine young tenor with a really nice range and Reno provides a smooth high lead singer vocal style that enables the group to have a modern sound when featured. Add in Waller’s command of the audience and a powerful bass and you have this groups best lineup in ages.
We would have liked to have seen a little more balance in song selection so the projects weren’t as tenor heavy. This lineup is too talented to lean towards one vocalist.
Album rating 4 out of 5 stars.
For more information about the Florida Boys or to order these projects:
The Florida Boys Website