Nearly six decades ago, singer, pianist and activist Maggie Ingram formed a family singing group that grew into a gospel music institution. Now headed by her daughter, the Rev. Almeta Ingram-Miller, and granddaughter Cheryl Maroney Beaver, the Legendary Ingramettes return with their first album since the elder Ingram passed away in 2015. With musical accompaniment consisting solely of piano, bass, and drums, Take A Look In The Book is an excellent showcase of the Ingramettes and their powerful, versatile voices.
The album opens on an upbeat note with “The Family Prayer,” where over a bouncing rhythm and a bright, jaunty piano, the Ingramettes enthusiastically welcome listeners to prayer and spiritual fellowship. “Come on, come on, sisters and brothers. We need to have a family prayer,” they sing, as the song whips itself into an ecstatic frenzy before closing out with an earth-shaking refrain of “Kneel down!” With tracks like “I’ve Endured,” “Hold On To God’s Unchanging Hand,” and a gorgeous, reverent cover of Bill Withers’s classic “Grandma’s Hands,” Take A Look In The Book beautifully tackles gospel’s traditional themes of faith, devotion and perseverance in the midst of crisis. The music here is a healing balm for the spirit and a fitting contribution to the legacy that Maggie Ingram established so many years ago.