Play A Li'l Song For Me
With Play A Lil’ Song 4 Me, Gospel’s veteran keyboard instrumentalist Ben Tankard continues to make his mark with mellow ministry mostly ebony and ivory musings with occasional smooth vocals thrown in. Producer: Ben Tankard
album release date: February 18, 2003
His latest album has all of these trademark qualities, for Tankard knows his craft and his niche in the ever-expanding world of Gospel music.
The title track of this, his seventh project for Verity Records, features The Canton Spirituals with Harvey Watkins Jr. out in front with spoken word. Tankard’s keyboard synths and Tim Bowman’s guitar supports The Canton’s wordless and smooth ad libs and subsequent chorus that tells how God can use song from an anointed artist for his purpose (with I Samuel 16:23 as the text).
Bowman is featured on several songs on the album, but pehaps most prominently on “Ben’s Coffee House”, a groovy, chill out instant-classic. Jewel Tankard co-writes with her husband here, and on several other songs. “The Altar” and the funky “Dance in Advance” also showcase this musical collaboration.
Tankard again tests his skill with vocal arrangements, and comes out a winner on “Don’t Worry”, featuring Cassandra Robertson. Comfort is the key word for the cut, as Robertson expertly brings vocal texture and color, telling that “Jesus knows all that there is to know about you, He sees, He hears, He cares...”
Bishop A.R. Williams takes the mic on “One Hundred Ways”, joyfully and soulfully singing over key and sax wanderings, words inspired from Ephesians 5:28, which exhorts husbands to “ to love their wives as their own bodies”. The song is a cover of the original made famous by James Ingram with Quincy Jones.
Play A Lil' Song 4 Me
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Re-energizing his great success in offering up Gospel covers of popular Stevie Wonder tunes, Tankard dips into the large reservoir of Wonder’s material on this project, and brings out the Wonder wedding favorite, “Overjoyed”, Tankarized to fit his keyboard flow and jazzy vibe.
Yes, Tankard fans are rejoicing, for true to form, the minstrel steps up with a project that is the essence of Gospel-smooth and fills that niche for chilled-out, ministry-minded composition.
reviewed by Stan North
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