San Francisco-based all-male vocal ensemble Chanticleer has made plenty of albums of spirituals and gospel music (along with recordings of other styles, from Gregorian chant to rarities from the Mexic

San Francisco-based all-male vocal ensemble Chanticleer has made plenty of albums of spirituals and gospel music (along with recordings of other styles, from Gregorian chant to rarities from the Mexican Baroque repertoire), but this is something else altogether. The driving force here is the knockout voice of the Rev. Yvette Flunder, another San Franciscan, whose no-holds-barred soulfulness is artfully framed by the plush sound of Chanticleer (whose precision is as tight as a drum). The album opens with the eerie and plangent "Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb"; other standout tracks include the joyous "Didn't It Rain," a soaring version of "There Is a Balm in Gilead" and, as a bonus cut, an enraptured, extended version of "Be Still and Know That I'm God." The pairing of Flunder and Chanticleer is inspired and will certainly appeal to a very wide swath of listeners.—AT

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