A new album , “Take A Look in the Book” is coming March 20 from gospel greats The Legendary Ingramettes. The album features their new bandleader Almeta Ingram-Miller and a new vision for gospel that incorporates everything from a reworking of Bill Withers‘ classic “Grandma’s Hands” to Appalachian mountain song “I’ve Endured.” This group from Richmond, VA has been around for 65 years at the forefront of African-American gospel quartets
It’s been six decades of music, sixty-five years of song, and generations tied together through the force of will of a matriarchy of powerful women. That’s the story of African-American gospel quintet The Legendary Ingramettes, founded by Maggie Ingram (who passed away in 2015) as a way to keep her family together through hardship, and taken up by her daughter Almeta Ingram-Miller as a way to continue Maggie’s legacy.
Inspired by the black gospel male quartets of the 1940s and 50s, The Legendary Ingramettes bring roof raising harmonies and explosively powerful vocals, all driven by the voices of women. Based for many years out of Richmond, Virginia, they were led by the indomitable will of the woman they all called “Mama,” but now that Mama is gone, Take A Look in the Book is the group’s first efforts with Almeta at the head. The album showcases Almeta’s bold new vision and towering vocal abilities, drawing songs from new Appalachian sources like Ola Belle Reed and Bill Withers, and reworking family favorites, some of which date back to old spirituals
Produced by state folklorist Jon Lohman as part of the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, “Take A Look in the Book” was recorded over just three days in Richmond, with most songs being cut in one take to keep the power of the group’s incendiary live performances. A live show from The Legendary Ingramettes is a house-rocking affair, with audiences literally whipped to a gospel fervor, and the recording seeks to capture the electrifying nature of the group’s performances.