Bishop Carlton Pearson
Bishop Carlton Pearson is a hero in my family.Producers: Dan Cleary, David B. Smith
album release date: September 18, 2001
My father, my aunts everyone wants to know one thing can I get them a copy of whatever his latest is. He's a hero because in his Live at Azusa series, he continues to release some music that is nostalgic to any long-time churched person over the age of 18.
Pearson embarks on Azusa 4 with his drawing enthusiasm and charisma, serving up nostalgia that he not only revels in, but recommends.
He admonishes us to sing along and to cherish the memories that come with the songs, mostly of the old church, as "there is something God wants to say to you in the memory".
And speak He does. With production from the venerable Dan Cleary, and through the voices of Shirley Caesar, LaShun Pace, newcomer Ronzel Pretlow and veteran Rev. Gene Martin, the Lord speaks.
Pearson leads congregational styled hymns such as "We're Marching to Zion", "Jesus Is Real To Me" and "I'm Working on a Building". He reminisces with such clarity from the time of his childhood, about his perspective on faith and how music much of this music moved him and impacted his life.
Azusa 4 Flash Card
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Shirley Caesar was a part of that memory. The fire-stirring "I Won't Be Back (Sweepin' Through The City)" and the Jason White-transformed "Yes" provide the musical stage that Caesar dances all over. The vitality she brings to these traditionals are testimony to the fervor they were probably originally written with, before we almost let them fade. White on keys adds some freshness without altering it too much.
LaShun Pace came to Azusa to share and minister not too long after the passing of her daughter Xenia. In recent months she has exhibited a will far beyond that which most possess as she has continued to pour out of herself, ministering across the country, even after enduring what no mother can fathom living through. On "Is Your All On the Altar?" she sings from a position of knowing, that we must give it all to Him. Having lived a real experience on "the altar of sacrifice", she admonishes us to put it in His hands, in this version of the traditional arranged by David B. Smith.
Ronzel Pretlow shares his story of faith about how he was working at a fast food restaurant when the Lord ministered a promise of greater things. Pretlow, who began pastoring at his father's church shortly thereafter, is certainly on to greater. On "It Overflows", Pretlow offers the power of his voice and testimony.
Alex Bradford Material
Alex Bradford wrote the song "Too Close To Heaven", sung by Rev. Gene Martin on this Azusa 4 project.|
Click the image above to read about a classic re-release of Alex Bradford material from Collectable Records, a must-have if you want to explore the roots of Gospel music.
Not to be outdone, Rev. Gene Martin steps out front on Alex Bradford's "Too Close to Heaven". At a young sixty-two, his range and strength serve a reminder what singing really is.
From start to finish, Azusa 4 is a collection of songs that mean something. They mean history. They mean faith. They mean revival. Azusa 4 allows us to look back.
In looking back we can remember the greatness from whence we came, and from that draw strength for the journey ahead.
Tommy Boy Gospel
reviewed by Melanie Clark —
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