Performing totally a capella, the Gents strike me here as a sort of popular, Everyman’s version of the more erudite and musicological Chanticleer male chorus. This is a collection of the types of songs the group often offers as encores at their live shows, with interesting modern arrangements on all 17 songs. The harmonic arrangements of the Gents reminded me a bit of a larger version of the Hi-Los of many years ago. They obviously find great joy in singing these tunes, making even overly familiar ones such as Londonderry Air take on a fresh and earnest cast that keeps up a listener’s interest. There’s a number of Beatles tunes here and I found them quite free of the often boring quality of other vocal performers covering Beatles’ tunes.
The amazing presence and realism of this 16-man vocal group recording hits me as very similar to the effect of Chesky’s marvelous a cappella SACD of The Persuasions singing Beatles tunes. These guys are right there in front of you. In fact, although none of The Gents’ Beatles songs duplicate those done to perfection by The Persuasions, a great pairing for a mix program would be segueing from The Persuasions’ Love Me Do to The Gents’ And I Love Her. Another amazing thing about this album is that this ensemble is not a professional choir – it’s merely an avocation for all its members, who include a hotel manager, law student, psychologist, deacon and physiotherapist among them!
Tracks: Michelle, Lullabye, Blackbird, And so it goes, With a little help from my Friends, Misschien niet de Eeuwigheid, Omarm, Dansen aan zee, Londonderry Air, The Oak and the Ash, Molly Malone, Ca’ the yowes, The Turtle Dove, Hey Jude, If I fell, A groovy kind of Love, And I Love Her.
– John Sunier