Don’t be surprised the next time you
see Paul Beasley and ask him the name of his new CD and he says – ‘I Don’t
Know.’ After the initial response, he might clarify his answer to remove the
bewildered look from your face by saying – “I Don’t Know” IS the
name of my new
CD. So, this month we take a closer look at this new offering from one of the
most recognizable voices in gospel music.
The Violinaires help
establish the falsetto vocals as a permanent fixture in gospel music. Paul
Beasley would come along as a member of
The Gospel Keynotes and bring that unique vocal pitch to a new
generation of gospel music fans.
Mention Paul Beasley and immediately fans of this genre know that you are
referring to one of the all-time great falsetto singers. Singers like the late
Reverend Claude Jeter,
The early works of
The Gospel Keynotes were
peppered with the late Willie Neal Johnson calling on Paul to sing. And, singing
he did. Paul would reach octaves that just seem impossible to others. He could
stretch out a word ending in “e” to the point that it would become the focal
point of the song.
Paul eventually left the
Keynotes and joined
The Mighty Clouds Of Joy. While
Clouds audiences would be mesmerize with his
rendition of "Walk Around
Heaven." That song became a key part of any
Clouds’ performance. Once Paul left
Clouds, the song remained a part of his performance. And, even if he did not
intend to do the sing it at a concert, the audience would demand the song before
he could leave the stage.
Fortunately, Paul returned to the Keynotes before the passing of Willie Neal
Johnson. Thus, giving us several projects in the 90's with Willie once
again calling on Paul. Since Johnson’s passing, various configuration of the group released
projects that received mediocre attention. Now, Paul and his lineup of The
Gospel Keynotes have released a project that should garner the support of even
the most die-hard
The title track is an awesome re-work of the familiar gospel song “You Don’t
Know (What the Lord Has Done For Me)” that Paul and the guys have made personal.
In other words, I don’t know what He’s done for you, but let me tell you what
He’s done for me. Paul’s voice is as strong as ever on this and all the other
songs. The smooth falsetto vocals that we all expect from Paul are present
throughout the project.
There are several songs on the project that will have you asking – who is that
vocalist that sounds so much like the late Willie Neal Johnson? This is
particularly true on “I Really Miss You.” The song is a tribute to Mr. Johnson.
It begins with a 61 seconds monologue that makes it appear Johnson is speaking
to Paul from the ‘other shore.’ Paul masterfully moves into sharing thoughts
about The Country Boy to delivering an outstanding ballad. This is one powerful song.
Paul shares a personal reflection of missing his mother on “Hear Mother Pray
Again.” Once again, he has taken another very popular gospel song and made it
Other songs on the project are “Power In The Name Of Jesus,” “Bending Knees,”
“I'm Yours,” “Joy,” “Oh, The Blood,” “No Friend Like Jesus,” and “Dwell In Me.”
If you are looking for a quartet gospel project that captures that familiar
Keynotes' sound, this
is it. Overall this is a very good project.
The project should be available
everywhere. If you have not purchased this project, head to your local
record store, or click on
I Don't Know to purchase it online.
Paul Beasley & The Keynotes’
I Don't Know a 9 out of 10. Click on the
title to hear
Friend Like Jesus."