Luther Barnes


The Sunset Jubilaires



It's Your Time


While discussing Gospel Music with a recent convert to the Gospel Quartet genre, he mentioned that in his opinion one of the most prolific writers in this genre was Frank Williams, followed closely by Luther Barnes.  However, he perceived Luther Barnes as being more of a choir guy than a quartet singer, The Red Budd Choir being his favorite choir. 


As we began our discussion, it became apparent that when I said “Luther” he was puzzled about whom I was talking about.  He kept saying Luther Barnes and I kept saying Luther.  He asked whether we were talking about the same person, I gave him a brief history of a small portion of gospel quartet music.  I indicated that in the Gospel Quartet Music genre most of the major artists are referred to by just one word, normally their first name.  I indicated that fans of gospel quartet music will know immediately to whom I am referring when I say Huey, Doc, Slim, Paul, Lee, Harvey, Evelyn, and of course Luther.


As we continued to discuss Luther’s music, he indicated how much Luther’s song “I’m Still Holding On” has meant to him.  He’s only seen Luther in person once.  It was with The Red Budd Choir, and Luther sang “I’m Still Holing On” with the choir.  It was quite interesting and surprising to him to learn how many “quartet” albums Luther has recorded.  And to learn that there is The Sunset Jubilaires.  Together they are referred to as Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires.    


That discussion caused me to go back and listen to the project by Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires titled It’s Your Time.  Although this project has been on the market for a year (it was released on June 24, 2003), it remains in heavy rotation on many radio stations.  It is worthy of a review by Gloryland Gospel.


The first thing that one notices about this project is that the harmony is very tight.  Secondly, on none of the songs do the musicians overshadow the singers.  Thirdly, all of the songs are new, except of course the medley tribute to Luther’s father.


The project begins with the title track, “It’s Your Time.”  This is a very encouraging song.  In the narration to the song, Luther states that the “song is dedicated to all of you who have been working in the vineyard for the Lord for what seems like a lifetime.”  What a fitting commentary about this song.  Clearly this song will encourage your heart, no matter how long you have be in the vineyard. 


The next track “Hallelujah Praise,” is the closest song on the project to what you might consider a drive song.  The next track is “Jesus Saves.”  This song could easily fit into that category of a choir song.  Though it is obviously being sung by a quartet, the ‘recent convert’ to the Gospel Quartet genre, would be surprise to learn that a choir did not sing background on this song.  You can almost feel The Red Budd Choir backing up Luther on this song.  “Praise Him,” the next track, is upbeat, not to the point of being consider a drive song, but clearly a foot tapping hand-clapping song.


Then the Jubilaires ask The Question “What will He say when we stand before the throne on that day?”  What an awesome reminder in song.  This is a very slow song, but it is sure to penetrate your heart and really make you think.  It is one of the best songs on the project. 


Then the group does a medley of songs of Rev. F. C. Barnes and Rev. Janice Brown.  The medley is fittingly titled “Tribute to Dad.”  The next song begins with an arrangement that make you think you are about to hear “What More Can I Do.”  However, it immediately moves into a unique arrangement of the song “Hold On.” 


“Don’t Be Afraid,” Free Indeed” and “Send Your Anointing” round out the project.  All songs, except for the medley, are written or arranged by Luther Barnes.  Luther sings lead on all of the songs except “Don’t Be Afraid,” which is lead by Haywood Barnes. 


I would agree with the ‘new convert’ that Luther is a great song writer.  His writing talents are certainly evident in the songs on this project.  His songs always leave you with a positive message that you can use.  The songs on this project are no exception.  Each song has a message that applies to the world and saints of today. 


I give Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires’ “It’s Your Time” a 9 out of a possible 10.  Click HERE to purchase the CD.  Click on the red song title to hear "Jesus Saves." 


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