Craig Hayes and the United Voices
Live In Philadelphia
Now in the 21st century, Craig Hayes and the United Voices mark their independent
label debut and their third project with another strong collection of songs.
Characteristic of this Trenton NJ collective, Live in Philadelphia is defined by
catchy melodies, a refined approach and tight band work.Producers: Craig Hayes, Reggie Young
album release date: June, 2000
The Professor lays out his curriculum with a vibratic and
punctuated anthem of gratitude, "Oh Give Thanks" before he proceeds to
instruct in the Jamaica Funk inspired "Worthy To Be Praised".
'UV and he say it' over a horns and bass driven groove.
With a marvelously controlled vocal approach, The United Voices
remain at the top of their East Coast choir class. Diction is never questioned
and tenor, alto and soprano sections balance each other out consistently,
showing equal strength. Slower ballads are always a challenge for a
choir, so the 8-minute plus "Be Thou Exalted" is a good example of just
how disciplined they are. Reggie Young's work on
orchestration and acoustic tenor bass and Willie Brown's work on
guitar add just the right flava.
While Hayes is often found soulfully leading the albums cuts,
he doesn't hesitate to bring in famed guest lecturers when a point needs
to be made. A good example here is on track #8, where Bruce Parham and
Ebony Marshall take duet lead on "Love Lifted Me", with its familiar
lyrics and fresh but classic contemporary Gospel sound.
"I Have An Assurance" is wrapped in the renowned Craig Hayes sound the
same one that generated acclaim on his previous two projects. With a syncopated
keyboard motif and walking bass line. Pastor Michel White Haynes
ably handles solo duties on this one.
Jointly produced by Hayes and NY's Reggie Young, this live project is a text-book
case of good production technique. An always-present balance between
choir, band and soloists and unobtrusive overdubs mixed in provide a
mix of studio-like clarity with the raw energy of a
As the Professor professes with blunt and elegant simplicity
on one of the album's interludes, "everybody come on". Listen,
learn, take notes, and you'll go to the head of the class with this A project.
reviewed by Stan North —
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