The Bright Clouds
There are Quartets and then there are QUARTETS. The Bright Clouds of Rochester, New York are a QUARTET. They pull no fancy tricks under the guise of being relevant to the youth or trying to have cross-over appeal. Under the leadership of Joe Council these gentlemen have traveled the roads presenting hard nose quartet gospel leaving a trail wherever they visit. I have often thought of this group as one of the masters of the Quartet Drive. Have you ever listened to a group drive a song so hard until you literally didn't think they would be able to recover and sing the next song? Well, if you haven't, then you must hear The Bright Clouds.
With well over 30 years of experience under their belt, this is the group's first effort with national distribution since their 1985 release "I'm Depending On You" on Heat Records where they were label mates with the Swanee Quintet. Recorded for First Lite Records, this recording features the production genius of former Gospel Hi-Lite musician and member Benny Hill. On a whole, the project is a mixture of original compositions and interesting arrangements of classic songs.
Songs like "Tried By The Fire", "Swing Low Sweet Chariot", "I've Got Shoes", and "Search Me Lord" meet up with the Bright Clouds and take on new character. Two of the most powerful arrangements are the Clouds interpretation of the aforementioned "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Search Me Lord". Swing Low is a great mid-tempo number that has all the makings of an opener for "Live" performances. Led by the great Joe Council the other eye opener is the HARD driving number "Search Me Lord". It was amusing to me that the group decided to close the project with this killer drive number. This song perfectly showcases what I call the progressive drive technique used by the Clouds. A Progressive drive is one that seems to gain steam with each round much in the tradition of the 1960s shouters.
Like most powerful groups on the road the Bright Clouds have two powerful lead vocalists. However, unlike many groups that have the classic hard driver and smooth crooner combination, the Bright Clouds have two driving lead vocalists. When Joe Council and Carter Snead get together you are bound to have some fireworks. For a moment let's talk about the Bright Clouds background singers. If I were to use one word to describe the background vocals on this project it would have to be variety. The group can drive and then they can showcase their Violinaire like falsetto backing on numbers like the sky high "Lonesome Journey". For those that really like to hear a variety of backgrounds then you'll love the variety found on this 12 song project.
This project is for the straight up quartet fan. Obviously the music has a modern sound but all those things that make quartet as a genre are definitely in full force on this release. I give The Bright Clouds "Bless Me" a 8.5 out of 10. To order your copy of this recording just clickHERE. Click on the title to hear "Search Me Lord".