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Chris Byrd
Between The Sheets

No longer with the Pulse Records, the versatile Chris Byrd launches his own record label with an absolutely intriguing solo project, gingerly subtitled, Between The Sheets. Targeted exclusively to Christian married couples, the CD features Gospel's first parental advisory label on the front cover ('for married couples only').

Between The Sheets CDMake no mistake, this is not a Gospelized Isley Brothers knock-off. On the other hand, you would be so wrong to assume this to be another version of TD Jakes' ground-breaking Sacred Love Songs project. Truly, this 13-track set belongs in a league set apart.

Introduced by a hilarious (real?) dramatic interlude where we eavesdrop on a meeting of a church's "The Married Men Club" (where the members discuss what kind of music they play during those intimate times with their wives), Byrd leaves no doubt that this is music for the saints. What follows are cuts that range from the tender to the intense, much of them set to smoldering slow grooves. Lyrics are never raw, but neither are they afraid to be real with words. In the context of fidelity, marriage, honor, love and respect, it's a true reflection of what's found in the Song of Solomon.

Some titles include "Wild Side", "Dance With Me" and "Celebrate Our Love". There's also spoken word poetry set over soft track, entitled "Poetic Song of Solomon". Byrd and his wife, Bridgette, takes the scriptural lines of "The Man" and "The Woman".

On the musical tip, there's nothing but excellence. Byrd provides lead and backing vocals, as well as programmed tracks for the lion's share of the project, bringing in BrianChris and Brigitte Byrd Hurst to co-vocalize on occasion. Robbie Lyle easily sets the candlelight mood with guitar.

No doubt, this project will be snapped up by those married couples who have always felt a little uncomfortable relying on their tucked-away CDs of Alexander O'Neal or Luther Vandross for those certain occasions. Between The Sheets provides the same vibe, minus the seductive tone and off connotations that equivalent-sounding mainstream projects inevitably bring to the mix.

Gospel hasn't seen anything like this. As the first volume in a series which Byrd titles From Chris Byrd's Collection of: Songs In The Key of Love, it looks like it won't be the last. It's a no-brainer that it's bound to generate heated controversy in some church quarters.

With physical love between husband and wife in a Godly context being such a rarely discussed topic, perhaps that's a good thing!


Producer: Chris Byrd
album release date: February, 2000
Minstrel House Music Group


reviewed by Stan North



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