The Gospel Four
Ready Or Not

The Gospel Four, under the guidance of front man George Dean, have always hovered at the top of any quartet connosseur's list.

CDReady Or Not is the group's sophomore effort for MCG Records. The twelve-song project puts the focus squarely on The Gospel Four's strength —superb delivery of great, traditionally-based music.

George Dean and Jerry Peters work together to produce the album, which was recorded live at The Christ Tabernacle Church in Atlanta, Georgia, back in 2001. It's as if the delay between then and now has only served to somehow act as a sort of musical marinade, enhancing the flavor.

Group members Dean, Tony Mason, Carl Anthony, Littleton Dean and Jorgen Jackson kick things off with a powerfully energetic redo of one of their oldies, imparting a new spin to "Ready Or Not". Pounding keys and blaring horns amp the excitement, seguing into the driving intensity of "Thank You For Making A Way".

The Gospel FourWhile Dean handles vocal lead through most of the album "All My Life" with Carl Anthony on lead, and "Loved Ones" with Littleton Dean out front showcase the other members of The Gospel Four. They both make the most of their opportunities.

The group brings back "Humbleness", the tenderest of ballads, touching it with soft guitar stylings and organ. "Closer To Thee" comes a close second with its soulful introspection and Dean's heart outpouring into his vocals.

Dean intros "Empty Handed, Hearted, Headed" and ensures it makes the group's hit list by infusing it with his impassioned, laidback vocal style.

The warmth of vocal delivery, the intensity of excellence embedded into the band, the impassioned song ministry, all of these things and more make Ready Or Not a must-have album, and certainly a highlight of this year's quartet offerings.

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Producers: George Dean, Jerry Peters
album release date: October, 2003
MCG Records

— review by Stan North

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