The Agape Family Worship Center
Agape Live! We Love To Worship

There's a surprise on the inside. Jewels in the jewel case, so to speak.

New Jersey's Agape Family Worship Center under the pastorship of Pastors Lawrence and Vanessa Powell, serves up a wonderful collection of worship material that range from slow tender ballads to dance beat grooved jams. It's an honest offering, and one that has a live feel to it, yet retains some of the distinctive sound quality advantages often found on studio projects.

Produced by John Smith and with musical arrangements from Mark Torres, the all-out choir We Love To Worship CDdominates through the twelve tracks, with the occasional appearance from the group NuPraiz.

Then there's the surprise! In more than a few cases, the featured soloists are in fact artists who have been involved with recent high profile projects:

The project's standout cut is "Secret Place", which features the vocals of Sherry McGhee, who is also a member of The McClurkin Project (see review). This song, with textual reference to Psalms 91:1, is a low-wattage steamer of ride with an almost-hushed, often unison chorus (appropriate to secrecy). McGhee takes the lyrics to heights of rich expression, playing off the contast of the underlying groove.

There's also Sheila Carpenter —again from The McClurkin Project — taking lead on the praise festival,"He's Worthy".

Maurice Brown (of New York's underappreciated group, Unity) takes charge of the brassy "Make A Joyful Shout". Here's another respected NY vocalist who makes this project a joy.

Songwriter Marshall Carpenter, a colleague of Brown in Unity, brings three songs to the album, including the ballad "Majesty" and the rousing title cut, "We Love To Worship". With Reyes Torres III's opening guitar riffs setting the enthusiastic pace, and congas peppering the track, it's an appropriate theme for the album, set off by some nice solo work from Shona Jones.

Other cuts that deserve mention are the interpretation of "Lord I Lift Your Name On High, which always seems to lend itself to a latin pulse, and "He's Jehovah Jireh" which flickers on a dance club rhythm and floats on a Hammond B3 base.

In all, We Love To Worship is an independent project that you can't help but treasure, both for its quality and its beauty of worship. Evidence indeed The Agape Family Worship Center do love to worship.

Producers: John Smith, Mark Torres
album release date: September 2000
Impact Music

reviewed by Stan North

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