Blair, from Myriad Records

Make Me Careful

In Blair, the city of Forth Worth, Texas delivers another Gospel group with all the character, the gift and the flair to capture significant attention.

Headed by husband and wife duo Minister Darrell and Latonja Blair, Make Me Careful is a feast of beautifully-produced and soothing Gospel vocals that showcase not only their own solo voices, but several other artists, including choirs, who join in on the praise.

Those who intensely follow the discography of Kirk Franklin will recognize Darrell as the voice behind the hit song "Watcha Lookin’ 4". Blair CDThis former member of The Family is also joined by other Franklin collaborators over the years, including Arthur Dyer and Myron Williams as well as Bobby Sparks on keys and the O.D. Wyatt High School Choir —voices from Franklin’s alma mater, and the same group who were featured on the Nu Nation Project.

Artfully crafted by producers Jerome Harmon and Gerard Hairston, this project is chock full of warm, accessible ballads that for the most part, fall into that crack between traditional and soft urban.

Darrell’s tenor pipes are big and resonant with a touch of that BeBe Winans-ish grit, while LaTonja’s clear, expressive alto makes the combination of the two blend well together.

The project is marked by ballads such as “A Love”, where Darrell and LaTonja spin a duet supported by the O.D. Wyatt High School Choir. The title track is another highlight, a warm, mid-tempo prayer in ballad form, spun with finesse by Darrell alone.

Cuts such as “Jesus Paid It All” and “Manner of Man” are lyrically representative of the project, drawing focus immediately to our Savior.

Sprinkled elsewhere are several more uptempo and edgier urbanized numbers that spark some fire into the mix.

Blair“Psalms 1” is flavored by Mark Harper’s electric guitar. With Sparks on synths, Chuck Smith on bass and the O.D. Wyatt High School Choir providing a great choral groove, the Davidic text is easily etched into memory.

“Running” is another quietly urban gem, with Darrell and LaTonja joined by the increasingly in-demand Todd Parsnow on acoustic guitar and MDM and Voices (see album review) in the background. Jeff T stops by for a rap segment here as well.

Marked by expertise all round, Make Me Careful will more than satisfy your appetite for quality soft urban Gospel by some of the best in the industry.

Producers: Jerome Harmon, Gerard Hairston
album release date: August, 2001
Myriad Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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