Review: Kingsmen – Missing People

This is the latest recording from the Kingsmen.  Personnel on this project are Harold Reed – Tenor, Phillip Hughes – Lead, Bryan Hutson – Baritone, Ray Reese – Bass, Cody McVey – Piano, and Brandon Reese – Sound Engineer.  This CD is the followup to the critically acclaimed When God Ran, and illustrates that the Kingsmen were not content to rest on their laurels.

Tracks:

  1. Missing People – It’s an interesting choice to start the album with a midtempo ballad style song that has a few similarities to their latest big hit, “When God Ran.”  Bryan Hutson sings the lead on this song, penned by Dave Williford.  The song lyrically takes an unexpected turn toward the fact that in Heaven, no one will be missed.  There’s a short recitation break with different people talking about how they won’t be missed in Heaven.    Perhaps most poignant is Hutson’s spoken line about his late father.  It’s a different feel.  This song may not have the chart success of “When God Ran”, but it’s message is similarly powerful.  Good song.  9/10
  2. Someday – Written by Woody Wright, this song somewhat hearkens back to the “three chords and a cloud of dust” Kingsmen songs, with a bit of a rockabilly backing track.  In an interesting twist, for the tag, Phillip Hughes sings “I’ll fly away” in the melody of the familiar hymn while the rest of the group sings the chorus of the new song in almost a chant like fashion.  I’m not sold on the ending of the song, though Ray Reese smacks a really nice low note, it just seems a bit blah.  Still, a very solid song performed well by the group.  The arrangement could have used a bit more spice, and I think the song will go over MUCH better in a live setting.  6.5/10
  3. They Went To Pray – This is a jazz/swing flavored number.  Phillip Hughes has the melody through the first verse of the song, then Harold Reed, Hughes, and Bryan Hutson all trade the melody back and forth through the chorus.  Ray Reese then sings the second verse, with the harmony getting inverted up on the subsequent chorus.  This song shows, like several of the songs on their previous project, that this particular lineup can really sing and handle the tight harmonies.  I love the high jazz chord on the tag.  This is a really enjoyable song.  8.5/10
  4. Mountain Of Grace – Phillip Hughes is featured on this classic power ballad.  The first verse and chorus are done with only piano accompaniment, and on the first and third lines of the chorus, they extend out the words “mountain” and “from” with formatas that really harken back to classic Kingsmen ballads of the 80s and 90s.  The full orchestration comes in for the second verse.  This song has an extremely strong lyric from Dianne Wilkinson.  There’s a nice key change that leads to a powerful tag to end the song.  Great cut.  9.5/10
  5. When It’s All Said And Done – Written by Dustin Sweatman and Scotty Inman, this song also is a traditional Kingsmen “toe-tapper” that should be a concert highlight for the group.  Ray Reese sings some bass solo lines on the chorus similar to what he’s done many times before on songs like “Beautiful Home” or “I’ll Live Again.”  This is Ray’s strength as vocalist and he shines here.  Longtime fans of the Kingsmen will absolutely love this track.  There’s even the requisite key change that modulates the melody up to the tenor.  Classic Kingsmen here.   10/10
  6. Cheer The Weary Traveler – Traditional quartet stylings also abound here.  Phillip Hughes and Harold Reed are featured on the verses and chorus, respectively.  There’s a false ending, then they kick back into the chorus again.  Reed smacks an ultra high tenor note on the last line of the chorus, and they take the final tag insanely high.  Another song that long time Kingsmen fans will eat up.  This has to be a big hit in concert.  10/10
  7. God Saw A Cross – This is a Rodney Griffin penned ballad that is sung by Harold Reed.  I love the lyric that God had seen the cross from the time of the garden of Eden.  Through all the failings of the saints of the past, God still saw Christ’s cross.  This is a very powerful lyric that Reed sings masterfully.  This should be a radio release.  Maybe not the first song released, but it should definitely see some airplay.  The bridge and last chorus point the lyric in a more personal direction, and the bridge leads to a key change.  Great, great song.  10/10
  8. He Picks Up A Beggar On The Way – This is a fairly progressive tune that is sung by Bryan Hutson.  Lyrically the song speaks to how powerful and holy Christ is, yet he picks up lowly beggars like us and brings us along with Him.  This song has a bluesy country feel to it.  Solid song.  7/10
  9. God Knows – Also penned by Dave Williford, this country flavored ballad is sung by Phillip Hughes.  This song has a very smooth arrangement that the Kingsmen do very well.  It’s a nice lyric of reassurance that God knows and cares about what we go through in our lives.  The chorus features some really nice harmony from the group.  A very good “message” type song for the group.  8/10
  10. He Is The Only One – This is a nice soft jazz styled ballad.  Bryan Hutson sings the melody on this song that really shows off the vocal prowess of the group.  This song is full of tight group singing and complex harmonies.  Being the fan of jazz that I am, this is one of my favorite songs on the disc.  9/10
  11. Someday (Reprise) – The disc ends with the last 45 seconds or so of “Someday” with just piano accompaniment that basically wraps up the disc in a nice little package.  No real rating needed here.

Overall:  9 This is a very good CD from the Kingsmen that really continues to build on the successes of When God Ran.  While I think the previous disc had a bit more of an impact than this one due to it’s radical departure from Kingsmen albums of the past, this disc is probably stronger in terms of overall strength of the material.  “God Saw A Cross” is a big time ballad, and concert goers are going to really love “Cheer The Weary Traveler” and “When It’s All Said And Done.”  I think “Someday” will go over better live, especially if the group spices up the tag a little.  The biggest thing that strikes me on this disc is the strength of the lyrics here.  The group has done a great job of picking songs that really convey strong messages.  The group also shows that while they can “tote the mail” on the barn burners, they are equally as adept to singing the complex harmonies of jazz tinged numbers, or the smooth vocals on a country flavored ballad.  This is a project of which the Kingsmen can be very proud.

About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

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