Pastor James and Kathy Bowman
Please Stay

The sound is 'straight up' Gospel on this project from the emerging Diversity Records label. Finding a solid spot on traditional ground and supported by top-notch production from Aaron Lindsey (see interview), Pastor James and Kathy Bowman present Please Stay CD their musical ministry on Please Stay with the powerful backing of the Antioch FBH Sanctuary Choir on all ten tracks.

The live recording charges into prominence with the first track, which features Dorinda Clark-Cole on lead vocals. It's the classic lines of "We Are Marching Up To Zion", and there's no surprise that the track burns with a mid-tempo anointed fire. Clark-Cole takes her famous 'Clark Sister sound' to the typical lead vocal heights that she is renowned for. A highlight comes when the choir delivers an "Oh, Oh, Oh" chorus groove on the bridge as they proclaim "fight on we can do it, greater is He that is in me, than is in the world".

"Shine On Me" is a double-track that moves from the very traditional to the nearly contemporary. The pastorly duo of James Bowman and William Gillison combine in powerful duet on the opening cut, with their complimentary vocals mixing amidst swirling organ. The song continues seamlessly into the following track, which in short order becomes an uptempo groove as the Sanctuary Choir suddenly enters in full throttle, with an inventive arrangement and a catchy rhythmic working of the words, "let the light from the lighthouse shine on me".

Producer Aaron Lindsey arranges the title track "Please Stay", which is a ballad featuring theJames Bowman CD combined lead vocals of Pastor James and Kathy Bowman. With piano keyboards and string tracks generating the smooth vibe that is also reflected by the lyrics, "Jesus has come...please stay, Jesus, stay", the song builds to a powerful climax with choir power alternating with softer solo lines. The 10-minute cut "I Need A Visitation" concludes the album. It begins with spoken testimony from Kathy Bowman, who soon breaks it down into a soulfully reflective acknowledgement of her need for her Lord.

The solidity of this project can be credited in part to stellar song arrangements (most by Kathy Bowman), and the musical direction of Melvin Bryant (who ensures consistently tight band work). But it's more than just the technical excellence that distinguishes this project. That distincition lies in the Bowmans' sincerity of spirit and their true desire for God.

It's an expression that easily shines through on this CD.

Producer: Aaron Lindsey
album release date: March, 2000
Diversity Records

reviewed by Stan North

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