Ballantine reviews Tab’s New Day

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Reviewed by Captain Len Ballantine –
Territorial Secretary for Music and Gospel Arts
Canada and Bermuda Territory

New Day is my cup of tea!

The Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters create a towering mountain of choral sound in this recording, and are backed in kind by an exciting orchestra with all the trimmings. If heavenly music is half as exhilarating as this, we may never sleep—unless it’s from exhaustion.

New Day is not the group’s first foray into this genre, but it is the first time we have heard them record with their new leader Martin Hunt, who continues the excellent legacy of ‘The Tab Songsters’ following the charismatic 23-year dynasty of William B. Flinn.

The concept lying behind New Day is beautifully set up in a foreword by Captain Edward Hill, the corps officer. New Day points to the hope found in the Christian gospel. This kind of positive theme deserves celebrant music, and we are not disappointed. While there are plenty of mellow tracks, the overwhelming impact gained is one of highest praise and exultant worship of God. Scriptures used in song texts are helpfully noted for personal reference.

What I appreciated most was the range of interesting songs on offer. Plenty of contrast, yes, but we are aware only of a naturalness of order, with the theme and purpose of the project front and center. Some songs are sure to be familiar to those who know this genre; however, many were new to me. ‘The Day I Lay my Isaac Down’, and ‘Calvary is the sea’ are unique concept songs worth mentioning. ‘Sing Hallelujah,’ with its strangely indefinable sort of Hebrew feel, caught my ears. As did ‘Swing Low, Swing Down’ sung by the gravely-voiced Ed Pollock with his authentic Joe Cocker-style voice. (I mean that as a compliment.)

Amber Peacock also shone with her convincing contemporary approach featured in ‘A New Day Dawns.’ As did Keith Spencer and Susan Moulton who shared the mike in other duets and solos, proving that the ‘Tab’ is absolutely loaded with dazzling talent. Notwithstanding, they are obviously grooming another generation to follow the likes of Barbara Allen, who is a singing member of the group but was absent from the soloist roster. I mention this because there is real depth here, and I get the impression that we didn’t hear from everybody who could handle a microphone!

This recording has obviously been a mammoth undertaking for a Salvation Army section. And with it, Martin Hunt has ably established his tenure at the helm. The orchestral color, in true Hollywood style, is fully exploited. The material is well chosen for impact and suitability. And the Songsters themselves have never been more prepared. Congratulations! There will be enormous interest in this project, I am sure.

My sincere prayer is that we who hear it will not be distracted by the table spread so lavishly with good things to consume. Rather, let us recognize we are guests of the Holy Spirit himself. It is his banquet to which we are invited. May we find refreshment, inspiration and renewed faith as we come to the feast.

New day may be purchased for $15 plus $2 shipping and handling from the Pasadena Tabernacle corps. For information contact

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