Shirley Caesar
You Can Make It

Shirley and Bubba have proven to be a powerful combo multiple times before. It's a pairing that still works. For on this, her 35th album, Shirley Caesar once again brings producer Bubba Smith into the action to perfect the sound.

"You Can Make It" is classic Caesar, combining her unparalled Gospel experience and famous You Can Make It CDGrammy-winning voice with new music from a variety of authors. Three choirs are featured: Bobby Jones & The Nashville Super Choir Cast, The Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Choir (from Caesar's own Raleigh NC church) and Chicago's New Direction.

The lead single "Rejoice" is the most contemporary of the set, with a horn smothered latin punch (including brilliant trumpeting from veteran Gospel horn master Vinnie Ciesielski) and New Direction pointing the path to "lift up your voice and rejoice". Horns are also in abundance on the upbeat "Armor of God", backed by the Superchoir Cast.

Songwriter Danny Graham impacts with three contributions, two of which are backed by The Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Choir. On "It's Under the Blood", the cut begins with Caesar's solo voice with bare keyboard support, swelling to the lyrically powerful chorus. On "Nicodemus", the familiar recount of the questioning Pharisee is put to song, punctuated by bursts of horns, steady congas and rippling piano . Finally, producer Smith adds soft string orchestration into the soundscape on "I Am God", a solo balladic meditation Shirley Caesarfrom Caesar on the overwhelming omniscience and power of God. Graham is a songwriter who looks to make a mark —watch for him.

Other highlights include Caesar's remake of the bouncy Kevin Davidson hit, "Lift Him Up", her Superchoir-backed duet with Dr. Bobby Jones on "What Joy" and the album-closing, majestic "Reign Jesus Reign".

Consistent through this album's ten songs is an excellence of presentation and delivery from Caesar, and an instrumental beauty brought out through expert psalmists and assembled together through Bubba Smith's production gift.

There's no doubt, this is yet another Shirley Caesar project headed for award territory.

Producers: Bubba Smith, Shirley Caesar, Michael E. Mathis
album release date: September 5, 2000

reviewed by Stan North

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