The Supreme Angels – Reloaded (Malaco 2009)

May 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Gospel Music

The Supreme Angels
Reloaded
Malaco 2009
www.malaco.com

When legendary quartet leader Rev. Howard “Slim” Hunt of Slim and the Supreme Angels made his transition from labor to reward in 2007, the inevitable question was: what will happen to the Supreme Angels? Hunt was the heart and soul of a group that was active for more than a half-century.

Hunt solved that problem in advance by grooming his son, Quincy King, to be his vocal successor. On the quartet’s latest project, the appropriately titled Reloaded, King — nicknamed Slim, Jr. — is in the mix along with stalwart members Robert “Sugar” Hightower (remember him as the sassy-confident child lead of the Hightower Brothers?), Maurice Robinson and Michael Kimpson.

King gives the Supreme Angels a more youthful vocal sound, and the retro soul seventies feel the musicians cultivate throughout Reloaded is, if not timeless, still very much in vogue. The songs (save one) are new but lyrically they traverse quartet holy ground: shelter in a time of storm, thanksgiving for blessings, holding on against all odds, surviving in a tough world with lots of questionable choices, Mother, and the need for spiritual healing.

The CD opens and (almost) closes with quartet handclappers. “Wicked Land,” a take on “My Lord’s Gonna Move this Wicked Race;” and “What’s the Matter with Jesus” are 100 percent pure Supreme Angels fare. “How Long” showcases superb lead vocals and a music riff reminiscent of English pub band Ace’s opening salvo in its seventies hit of the same name, but it is not the same song. “Hold On and Never Give Up” is bouncy and bright Northern Soul. In the receeding seconds of “Your Touch is All We Need,” the quartet beseeches the Lord to watch over and protect a litany of their quartet bretheren, such as the Canton Spirituals.

Listen for Sugar’s biting guitar solo on “Don’t Let the Devil Steal your Joy” and the Supreme Angels’ performance of the reverential hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” which closes out the project.

Slim Hunt may be gone, but his legacy lives on in the Supreme Angels.

Four of Five Stars