Bam Crawford's Purpose
The Book of Life

Bam Crawford’s Purpose broke onto the scene in 1997 with their distinctive The King Is Coming Any Day, and album full of richly produced, percussion intensive and seamlessly woven Gospel tracks.

The Book of Life CDOn several counts, their sophomore album, The Book Of Life flows directly from their debut. Thematically, the focus remains on the Truth as expressed in the book of Revelation, with God’s mercy and love being the dominant emphatics.

Musically, Loris Holland, Sheila E. and Jackie Gouché-Farris return to hand-craft the worship and praise based sonicity that characterizes the choir. With this trio, you’ll find the richest of production values: inventive continental percussion, finessed choir-powered vocals, and multi-track effects dominating.

The tone is set from the get go, with “Lord You’ve Been Good To Me” —a woven flow of melodic praise with Cydney Davis soloing in front and stabilized by a riding rhythm track from Holland, busy guitar from Bakithi Kumalo and with flute and saxophone flourishes from Danny Wilensky abounding.

When Rudy McCoy pours his exhortational all into the soaring “Where Were You?” with its stacked choir harmonies and snaggy melody, you'll find yourself sitting up and taking note. Likewise, when Anthony Gouché make his point in handling the gorgeous praise track “So Nice”.

Mid way through the disc comes a significant detour with a creative trio of songs. It begins with “Thou Art Worthy” which is a gentle call and response between Gouché-Farris, Rita Johnson and Purpose, rising to a more high-powered praise. Flowing from that track is “Who Is Worthy To Open The Book” —a dynamic reading of scripture from Christopher Da Silva, spiced with soulful by ad libs from a couple of voices.

PurposeThe cut then morphs straight into “Worthy Is The Lamb” without a break, beginning with a lengthy choir chant complete with competing spoken rhythms and background praise from individual voices. Heavenly throngs of saints around the throne are easily envisioned. With acoustic congas and shuffling and tinkling underneath, Vivian Ginyard and Theresa Bruce move the composition into vocal melodies of praise to the Lamb.

This is a musical coup, and easily stands as the project’s highlight. It’s different. It’ll grow on you.

There’s nary a weak track here. The Bible Enrichment Fellowship Church Choir steps in to deliver “In The Presence of the Lord”, and Sheila E’s production on “Mercy Seat” also stand out.

With sounds particularly West coast, and production set apart from the standard, The Book of Life is a thoroughly enjoyable feast of richly fashioned thematic praise and worship.

Producer: Loris Holland, Sheila E.
album release date: December 2000
Harmony / Sony

— reviewed by Stan North

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