There are gospel quartet groups that
have been around for a very long time and just seem to be in the shadow of the
national recording artist. Then you pick up a project by one of these groups and
realize that the group is in deed a national recording artist, although you may
seldom hear about them and have rarely seen them on the major gospel quartet
Caldwell and The Gospel Ambassadors
is one of those groups.
The Gospel Ambassadors
have been together over forty (40) years. The group has recorded at least
twelve (12) albums. They have also recorded several videos. They are
on the independent gospel label Road To Glory Records. Deacon Shumpert
Watts Jr. heads this label.
Therefore, this month we review the new CD by
Jay Caldwell and The Gospel
Live – Two Men Following Me. Before getting into the CD, here is a
little more about the group. According to the group’s website, “Jay began
his singing ministry at the age of five singing with his church choir.”
After moving from North Carolina to Delaware Jay met Reuben (Doc) Henry Jr. and
together they formed The
The current members of the group are Jay Caldwell, Lonnie “Butter” Jamison,
Gabby Ledbetter, Keith Yancey, Minister Otis Willimas, James Griffin, Bill
Gatewood, Lamonte Murphy., and Curtis Clack. Jay, Lonnie and Gabby are the
There are sixteen (16) songs on this live recording. The recording took
place at The Baby Grand Theater, Wilmington, Delaware. This CD is full of
nothing but traditional gospel quartet music. It begins with a powerful
introduction by the emcee, George Witcher. From there the group moves into
a great ballad, "Holy, Holy, Holy.” The next track, “Put
Away Childish Things,” has that ‘down home’ feel to it. You will
find yourself rocking from side to side. This song also represents the
introduction of the smooth harmony of the background singers. The
background harmony just gets better with each song thereafter.
You will recognize that many of the songs on this project have been previously
recorded by the group. So, you get to hear many of the favorite songs from
this group in a live setting. The one track that will really get your
attention is a song that has become the signature song for this group – "Walk
In Jerusalem." This live version is outstanding. The
background harmony is very tight and smooth. The guys seem to be enjoying
themselves while singing this song. Another song of note is the much
recorded “What A Friend.”
The Gospel Ambassadors’
version of this song is one of the best. It is not a stretch to state that
we have not heard such a moving version of this song since it was recorded by
Doc McKenzie and The Hi-Lites.
The background singers take the song to another level. This is a song that you
will find yourself playing over and over.
"I’ve Got Something" would probably be considered the drive song
on this project. It is not a hard drive, but more of an upbeat tempo song.
It will probably not get much radio airplay, since it is over eight (8) minutes
in length. You may find yourself comparing this song to several recorded
by Slim and The Supreme
There is a monologue at the beginning of each song. There is much
encouragement from the group for the audience to join them in this praise and
worship service. And, from time to time, you do hear from the audience.
Overall, this is a great traditional gospel quartet recording. The
musicians are superb. The vocals are outstanding and more importantly,
there is a message (for someone) in each song. Put the CD in your player
and let The Gospel
Ambassadors minister to
Jay Caldwell & The Gosopel
Ambassadors' Live - Two Men Following Me
an 8.75 out of 10. To
purchase this CD click on
Two Men Following Me. This
project is also available on DVD. Click on the title to hear “Two
Men Following Me."