Commissioned Tribute 3
Sundays in the late 80’s for the Lacy family included listening to 90.9 KTSU in Houston, Texas, going to and from church.
— commentary by Dwayne Lacy —
We were always graced with the sweet sounds of Shirley Caesar, a young man named John P. Kee, Thomas Whitfield, little Deleon, and of course The Southeast Inspirational Choir. That was the norm for me. That was Gospel music.
Then there was a disturbance on our radio. There was a sound that I hadn’t heard from Gospel music before. It sounded like the R&B that I listen to on the “other” radio station. It sounded too “wordly” to me (even though I listened to “wordly” music more than Gospel). I found out that the group’s name was Commissioned but I never knew what Commissioned meant until about five years ago.
My oldest brother and sister were big fans of this contemporary Gospel group, they were always talking about which one was their favorite lead singer. They went to their concerts along with members of Southeast Inspirational Choir (including Yolanda Adams), and they loved every minute of it.
I didn’t know which one was which when I first started, but that was ok. The one song that really got me hooked was, “Running Back to You” sung by Mr. Fred Hammond. Oh yeah, I loved that song. I enjoyed songs like, “Let Me Tell It”, “If God is For Us”, and “I Am Here”. I even knew who every singer was from Fred Hammond to Michael Williams.
Then I heard the news that Michael Brooks and Keith Staten had left Commissioned. Just when I was really getting into this group, the producer and Mr. “Will You Be Ready” himself had to leave. I was young, so I knew that this was the end of Commissioned.
I was wrong.
The album that really got me hooked was Number 7. Oh what a number it was! They had added Maxx Frank, Eddie Howard and a guy who I thought really sounded like Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp. This album was, and is a gem. This album was a delight. Songs like the house music influenced “Love You for the Rest of My Life”, the New Jack Swinging “We Are Overcomers” and “Second Chance” and songs like “King of Glory”, “Please You More” and “Secret Place” had an effect on my life and I did not yet know why that was so.
They were powerful because they were praise and worship songs to God, and they made me want to worship God when I didn’t know what praise and worship was.
I bought the next album, Matters of the Heart and I was flabbergasted by the lyrics, vocal and musical arrangements. Then the unthinkable happened.
Fred Hammond left the group.
I was hurt. How could he do that? Again my understanding was off. I didn’t know that people have to listen to the voice of God, and I’m so glad that he did. Radical for Christ has touched the lives of many people. And Commissioned would be alright.
Montrell Darrett joined the group on the album Irreplaceable Love, which included the midas touch of Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. It was strange to hear Commissioned using two guys who themselves were deeply influenced by them. But Commissioned delivered once again, this time with warfare-oriented songs like “Dominion” and Breakin’ Away”.
Commissioned moves with the times without changing there style entirely. Their ballads were strong on this album with such delights as “They Must Know”, “Crucified with Christ” and the wedding song, “More Than I”.
Then Marvin Sapp left and they added Marcus Cole. Then Montrell left and they added Chris Poole. Times and Seasons is the latest release and yes, I have it. I have every album by the artist that went solo or started a group.
Fred fulfilled some of my wishes when he redid many of the popular Commissioned hits for the In Case You Missed It And Then Some project. The “Let Me Tell It” remix was phat! To hear Fred and Keith trade back and forth was like going to a family reunion, seeing your favorite cousins that you haven’t seen in a long time, and eating barbecue. Thanks Fred.
The members, current and alumni have had a great impact on my life that no one could imagine. For that I thank God for using them and I thank Commissioned for being obedient and living up to the name.
Thanks Commissioned for coming back together and doing a reunion concert and live recording.
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