Double Portion – Above All Else
Producer: Blake Bennett
Label: Independent Release
North Carolina has always boasted a large number of regional/part time groups. In my opinion, Double Portion is one of the best. I was pleased when I saw them in concert a few weeks ago and found out that they had released a new CD entitled, “Above All Else.” Double Portion has always boasted a strong sound with a bit of campmeeting fervor in their music. This newest release is a good sample of who they are musically. For those unfamiliar with this group, Double Portion’s sound is one that is built more around “power harmony” than a pretty blend, though there are times that they do have that pretty blend. But, the groups sound is full of passion and sincerity, and I love it. In my opinion, Double Portion can just about sing any other group off the platform and I’d put them up against anyone in the industry.
The campmeeting feel of “I FEEL DELIVERANCE” gets the recording off to a great start and fits Double Portion like a glove. Things move on to the bluesy, uptempo feel of “SIMPLY UNEXPLAINABLE”, which was penned by group member Paula Sherman. The Goodman classic, “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY” slows the pace down slightly as the group turns in their own rendition of this great song.
Written and featuring group member, Jennifer Taylor, “THE STRUGGLE, THE WIN” is remarkable prayer in song of our reliance on the Lord and how frail we really are. As the lyrics dictate, though sometimes it’s a struggle, we ultimately win…“I’ll be stronger than yesterday, loving You more every day, I’ll trust You with all my life, I know for me You’ll always fight, I’ll seek Your will more than before, that the end is closer than evermore, Lord I want you, Lord I need you in my life.”
The medium tempo, “HERE COMES JESUS”, reminds me of the former McKameys hit song, “Right on Time”, and Jay Wilkins does a very good job on the song. The only song that doesn’t really work for me is the Joel & LaBreeska Hemphill penned tune, “WHEN JESUS SAYS IT’S ENOUGH”, which was a former hit song for the Gaither Vocal Band. Great song, it just doesn’t seem to fit the group vocally.
The title song, “ABOVE ALL ELSE” conveys the message that “more than security, more than success, if I must choose to own one thing, I’ll take Jesus above the rest, for if I should obtain the goal, to gain this world and all it holds, and then if I should lose my soul, then I have lost it all…above all else, I must be saved.” The ultimate goal for the child of God is to make Heaven their Home, and the song speaks volumes of how important salvation really is.
Backed by a choir, “UNDER THE BLOOD” is a soulful tune that leads very well into the easy flowing, country tinged, “VICTORY’S JUST AHEAD”. Closing out the recording is a remake of the Imperials classic, “PRAISE THE LORD”.
This may be hard to explain, but I know some people will understand what I am trying to say. One thing that most people may not notice if they have not followed this group is that the biggest difference for me between this latest release and their past recordings is that I miss the “Nashville Sound” that was so evident on their previous works. Nothing against where this was recorded as it is one of the premier locations, but with the change in studios and producers, it lacked something for me, though it’s still an excellent recording full of great songs, great arrangements, great vocals and great music tracks.
Personal Favs: I FEEL DELIVERANCE; WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY; THE STRUGGLE, THE WIN; HERE COMES JESUS; UNDER THE BLOOD; VICTORY’S JUST AHEAD