Though ‘One’ is Take 6’s 14th Studio album it’s a first on two counts – it’s their first recoding without founding member Cedric Dent (who’s gone off to a university teaching position) and it’s their first full gospel set.
The band says that the inspiration behind this recording was the sound of Korean War-era gospel and they begin with a version of the Selah Singers’ 1952 tune ‘Down Here I’ve Done My Best’. Its Jubilee style approach sums up the predominant flavour of the set. In tone, arrangements and harmonic approach songs like Jackie Verdell’s ‘You’re Gonna Need Him’ and the old hymn ‘Glorious Day’ are full-on Pentecostal. ‘Alleluia’ and ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ are the set’s more tender moments while on ‘Noah’ the team show more of their vocal mastery by simulating instrumental parts.
To complete the set Dent’s replacement – Khristian Dentley – was given the task of writing a title tune and in ‘One’ he’s come up with a contemporary take on that swinging mid 50s gospel sound. His tune is enlivened with handclaps and a catchy guitar figure that gives the cut a block party feel.
The Gospel community will be delighted with the set while connoisseurs of precise and faultless harmonies have much to savour. Cleverly, though, the group pull of a real coup to give the album wider appeal. Back in 2010 Take 6 appeared with Stevie Wonder on a BET Honours TV show where they sang the Wonder song ‘Can’t Imagine Love Without You’. They later persuaded Stevie to record it with them and it’s this LP’s clear standout. Stevie takes lead throughout, with a typically Wonderous delivery riding on beautiful harmonies and then the man tops it off with one of his delicious (if a little predictable) harmonica solos. It’s worth checking out.