Cedric Ford,
featuring Visions —A Choral Ministry

The sepia hues of the cover art might lead you to make assumptions about the audio contents of Cedric Ford’s Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel debut

But the sound coming from this live recording is anything but bland. In fact, the opening cut alone makes this project worthy of slapping down cash. “In This Place” contains some of the hottest choir tracks you’ll ever find on a traditional project, as Visions – A Choral Ministry lay down rich and deeply-etched Cedric Ford, featuring Visions' -A Choral Ministryslow-paced vocals to support Ford’s burst of soul-shaking worship. Lyrics resonate ('thank You for your presence, thank You for your grace, lifting hands to praise You for being in this place').

Ford has the ability to get as gritty as the rough-hewn wooden church walls his tracks sometimes evoke, yet he also tracks butter with ease, offering glidingly smooth, yet still churchy vocals on ballads such as the servants prayer, “Amen”.

“You Can Weather The Storm” and the remake of “See The Salvation”, while displaying different styles, simply confirm the beauty of this project and the tightness of mesh that exists between Ford and the Visions collective.

On “Grandma’s Song”, Ford teams up with siblings and friends (Romandis Moore and Kevin, Deldrick and Regina) in a bouncy and harmonic tribute, and veteran songwriter Percy Gray contributes a couple of worthy faster-paced numbers (“Don’t Let This Moment Pass You By” and “I Need Your Spirit”).

The storied Dorothy Norwood makes her presence felt in a considerable fashion on this debut, primarily in the sense that Ford comes from siginficant schooling under her wing. You may have heard his impressive duet with Norwood on her 1999 project, The Lord is A Wonder. But Norwood also gets more directy involved, by not only shouldering producer responsibilities, but by demonstrating that she’s no lightweight in that department. There’s certainly no faulting the sound quality on this live recording.

Thoroughly anointed and deep in quality cuts, you can’t go wrong with Cedric Ford’s debut

Producer: Dorothy Norwood
album release date: November, 1999
Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel

— reviewed by Stan North

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