Prime Cuts: He Looked Beyond My Faults, I Will Glory in the Cross, I Just Came to Talk with You Lord
Overall Grade: 5/5
You don't have to be even familiar with Southern Gospel music to know the music of Dottie Rambo. Way back in 1996, the iconic Whitney Houston brought Dottie Rambo's "I Go to the Rock" to the fore with her glass-shattering and awe-inspiring version which she recorded for the 6 times Platinum selling soundtrack "The Preacher's Wife" and its ensuing movie of the same titular. But Dottie Rambo is far from being a one hit wonder. According to the omniscient Wikipedia, Rambo has had written 2,600 songs, cut by the who's who of music from Elvis Presley to the Cathedrals to Connie Smith to Rhonda Vincent to the Isaacs.
On what is her debut recording, Sally Quick has decided to tip her hat to this prolific songwriter by offering her renditions of 10 of Rambo's better known compositions. True be told, Quick is neither the first artist nor the last to deliver a tribute album to the late Rambo, so what sets this album apart? Most striking is Quick's vocals. Blessed with a pensive alto that is able to express an array of emotions from the plaintive to the jubilant, Quick's vocals calls to mind Karen Carpenter and to a lesser extent Janet Paschal.
With such a contemplative voice, she particularly excels in the ballads. On tracks like "I Just Came to Talk with You Lord," "Sheltered in the Arms of God" and "Remind Me, Dear God," she has an uncanny ability to bring out both our human vulnerability and God's strength in ways that is comforting to the soul. Though many have covered Rambo's "He Looked Beyond My Faults," but few could use their variegated vocal registers as brilliantly as Quick could to unearth the depths of our unworthiness in the heights of God's grace. Seizing each note with a heartfelt passion, Quick is particularly affecting on one of Rambo's strongest compositions "I Will Glory in the Cross."
But Quick is far from being just a torch balladeer. She is just as good when the tempo accelerates. Case in point being "When I Lift My Head," you can't help but appreciate the joy she exudes as she encourages to look to Jesus in the times of our peril. Similarly, on the bluegrassy "New Shoes," which boasts some delightful frenzied fiddling, Quick demonstrates command of the song with the way she weaves her joyous vocal demeanour around each note. Though her brassy horn-led version of "I Go to the Rock" doesn't have quite the same pulverizing effect as Whitney Houston's signature version, Quick is by no means less convincing.
Despite being released independently, this album stands shoulder to shoulder to most major label projects out there. The sound is crisp, clear, and professionally executed. But the cynosure is still Quick's thoughtful vocals. They are heartfelt, sincere, as well as a great massager for the heart in bringing it to greater holiness. Mark my words, Sally Quick is a name to look out for.