SoulTracks Sunday Gem: Take 6 spreads all the love


A few notable vocal groups established their humble beginnings and musical aspiration on college campuses, such as Indiana University’s Straight No Chaser. In 1980, Claude McKnight (older brother of R&B superstar Brian McKnight) formed a vocal quartet at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. The group performed under the name Alliance, undergoing various vocal lineups until the now sextet signed a recording contract in 1987. And as for the rest of the story, Take 6’s noteworthy journey began with their bread and butter jazz/gospel roots, but them through inimitable collaborations: from New Orleans icon Aaron Neville, to country superstar Martina McBride and Euro pop sensation Eros Ramazzotti.

Right after signing on the dotted line with Warner Alliance, Take 6’s 1988 self-titled CD produced mind-boggling acapella masterpieces and five singles. This release was one of the rare opportunities to spotlight their multi-dynamic arrangements in an all acapella format. And their joyous tone enhanced their mix of spirituals, standards and one of their originals entitled “Spread Love,” that captured the 1988 Grammy Award for Jazz Vocal Performance.

The funky undertones along with toe-tapping swing and uplifting gospel crescendos are certainly welcome to the ears anytime – church or otherwise. While countless songs contemplate love is all we need, these lyrics for “Spread Love” cut to the chase on deciphering the truth: “…it seems like everything we hear is just a tale/But I believe in something that will never fail.” 

Of course, we cannot forget Take 6’s meticulous skills of crafting brass and rhythm sections. And their impact on pure acapella and ingenious musical arrangements, long beyond their college years, has changed the game with what today’s vocal bands are accomplishing.

By Peggy Oliver


Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Choice Cut

Chris Jasper

"Be Number One"

Choice Cut

Will Preston

"I'll Give It Right Back":

Song of the Month

Acantha Lang

"Grandma's Hands"

Video of the Month

Kinsman Dazz Band

"til Forevermore"

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.