O'Landa Draper's Associates
All About Him (Jesus)
Memphis still resounds with O'Landa Draper's Associates, as they continue with the ministry of their late founder, now under the direction of Patrina Smith.Producer: Kevin Bond
album release date: February 13, 2001
Under the MCG Records banner, the much respected choir shows its traditional force on this project that features both Draper tributes and showcases new material.
Kevin Bond takes charge of the production helm from start to finish, ensuring a consistent ride for all ten cuts, and Sylvester Robinson adds musical direction responsibilities to his bass duties.
From the opening selection, "Clean Me Up", you get the hang of this project: strongly traditional in roots but never afraid of exploring and pushing beyond. Excellent solo work livens the cut, written by Patrina Smith. Stellar band stylings, with syncopated slowdowns, make it a standout.
Several songs from Draper are included, including a remake of his hit "My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord", complete with meandering keys and guitar underneath and additional arrangements from Robinson and Keenan Shotwell. Also brought back are "We Need A Word" and the lengthy "We Come" which contains elements of "Gotta Feelin'" that surface mid-track.
On "I'll See You Again", Smith writes a heart-touching tribute to Draper, who was her fiancé when he succumbed unexpectedly to kidney failure in 1998. Quandra Raimey leads.
Things get funky on "Nu Thang", one of two true contemporary songs on this disc. The second is the title track, "All About Him", another Smith composition. This one offers up some legitimate rap stylings from Kenon Walker over the choir, and finds a deep groove pocket.
Also noteworty is Kevin Bond's song, "Purpose Praise", a beautiful praise song with vocals up front, and anointed narration over top.
But the essence of this album is truly more than its strong musical elements. It's a vibrant testimony to us all that Jesus is able and willing to pull us through any and all difficulties that come our way in life.
The hardship and suffering that both Patrina Smith and Ma Draper have endured over the past years with the passing of O'Landa has appeared to only strengthen their will and determination to continue to serve Him come what may, knowing that 'all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28).
All About Him (Jesus) is a welcome return for O'Landa Draper's Associates. We open our arms wide.
reviewed by Stan North —
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