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Alabama

Songs of Inspiration Volume II – 2007 (RCA)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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For their second album of gospel music, Alabama sticks with a similar formula - a predictable mixture of traditional favorites and well-known hymns along with a few originals, not all of which work.

"When It Comes My Time" and "One Life" sound too much like the band's '80s output to be anything other than distracting, and the plodding arrangement of "I Am A Pilgrim," tries and fails to attain an energetic Waylon-esque stomp.

When they get some help and speed up the tempo, however, things pick up a bit. The Del McCoury Band kicks the warhorse, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" into high gear, and an unlikely partnership with Riders in the Sky lifts "Love Lifted Me" out of the ordinary. "Down By The Riverside" is a rollicking gospel romp, and "Church In The Wildwood" applies the group's trademark harmonies to a simple yet effective bluegrass arrangement, perhaps providing templates for a more interesting volume "III."