Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford’s voice and presence is like glitter. You can put it on top of most anything and make it better. Though in this case it’s not that the songs and production needed to be improved.

EMI Gospel/Dexterity Sound rolled out the red producer’s carpet for Cedric and Victor Caldwell who are joined by veterans Sanchez Harley, Kevin Bond and the emerging Carlos Pennell, with the result being a sparkling, studio-recorded solo label debut for the former Bobby Jones’ New Life singer.

Beverly CDThe project is a somewhat of a stylistic departure for Crawford. Longtime fans will love her shout on the Pennell-produced “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”. It’s her signature sound, and it’s hard to find anyone in Gospel who can deliver blessing as ferociously.

Crawford delivers the same intensity on “So Glad He Loves Me”, but this time producer Harley peppers horn punches all over it.

But with her versatile voice, Crawford is also right at home on tender ballads such as “Farewell”. And others like it that abound on this eponymously titled CD. While she may not be known much for this sort of material, she shows herself more than capable.

Perhaps the sweetest refrain is heard on “I Won’t Go On”, penned by Donnie McClurkin with arrangement from Angie Winans and Leanne Palmore. The clarity in his song structure coupled with Crawford’s slight edginess is a winning combination.

The gorgeous melody, arrangement and anticipatory message of “Eyes Have Not Seen” comes a close second, with Paul Jackson Jr.’s guitar setting it off.

On “Reach For It”, a straightforward mid-tempo jam, Crawford admonishes the listener to pursue whatever is needed from God. Some lighthearted sparring goes on in the background between keys and the organ played by Ralph Lofton (see album review).

Interview with Beverly
"I drink herbal teas, but the best thing is rest, because you can drink all the tea you want, take all the lozenges, see the doctor, but REST is best..."

Beverly Crawford speaks on her new project, and her new circumstances in our interview from Spring 2001.

Click on above image for the full take.
The Caldwell brothers check in on a Staples Singers-inspired “Run to the Water” that puts a funky spin on Crawford’s tone. Slowing it down on “Healing Virtue” Crawford’s voice is complemented by Mark Baldwin’s electric guitar; the gentle Caribbean bounce on “Your Name” will put a dance in your feet courtesy of rhythm arrangement by Jon Williams.

Kevin Bond puts his pen, voice and production hand to two songs. “Make Me” rides a low-key funky track and smooth stacked vocals with Crawford giving a gritsy performance over top. Bond’s “I’m Still Standing” has a similar vibe as Crawford testifies defiantly in Jesus’ victory over the enemy.

With The Potter’s House Mass Choir in the house through most of the choir-backed numbers, and the smooth sounds of seasoned session singers that include Duawne Starling, Tiffany Palmer, Jerard Woods, Jovaun Woods, Ann McCrary, Nathan Young and Susan Young on the other cuts, vocals on all levels are consistently top notch.

So take note. Here’s your opportunity to listen to Beverly in a whole new way.

Producers: Cedric & Victor Caldwell, Kevin Bond, Carlos Pennell, Harley Sanchez
album release date: July 31, 2001
EMI Gospel/Dexterity Sound

— reviewed by Melanie Clark and Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2001. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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