This is intriguing.Producer: deLANO
album release date: November, 1999
Remember that eclectic mix of Gospel that
turned heads back in 1994 on Motown Comes Home? With diverse
original Gospel selections from big names like The Temptations,
Johnny Gill, Shanice, Smoky Robinson and others, and with impressive
debuts from the likes of Brent Jones and the TP Mobb, Strate Vocalz
and Tracey Harris, it had all the makings of a promising start in
Gospel for the historically famed Detroit label.
Although it went
on to receive a Grammy nomination, that promise disappeared fast
when all Gospel plans by Motown were shelved indefinitely.
But things come around. Here we sit in early 2000, with Brent
Jones and the TP Mobb
slamming their Holy Roller Records debut project in the higher
regions of Gospel chart territory, BeBe Winans still drying
the ink from his recording contract with Motown, Tracey Harris
an established pop/soul artist on Pamplin, and multiple well-known
mainstream artists still reportedly venturing into Gospel music
Aside from the sorely missed Strate Vocalz, the only other missing
piece in this puzzle is System III, the Bahamas-based Gospel reggae/rap group
that let loose a jaw-dropping segment in the multi-artist "Come By Here" cut that
served as the intro to Motown Comes Home.
Although the group has since dissolved, former member deLANO
(formerly known as Mello-D) has gone solo, and offers here a
accessible reggae/pop set on Cappeg/CMN Records
deLANO never pushes the harder edge of the genre on
this project, relying on a softer, more laidback approach. It makes
for an easier comprehension of the lyrics than his cousins of Caribbean Gospel such
as Blood Brotherz and Papa San. The result is that this is a very
approachable album for those unaccustomed to these sounds.
Inconsistent mixing mars a few of the tracks, with vocals being overwhelmed at times
by track volume. But it's a small point. With the overall quality of the material, and the abundance of
joyful sounds that the CD contains, the pluses of this CD outweigh
any slight technical difficulties, and certainly never
distracts from listening pleasure.
Defying you to dance, deLANO ensures that you ‘get your island on’
by bringing a generous 68 minutes (14 tracks) of anointed reggae
vibes. These range from classic, rootsy cuts such as “Emancipation”
and “Island Praise” to more contemporary, beat-laden numbers like
“U Can Make It” and “Betta Get Ready”. Handling lead vocals
throughout the album, deLANO brings in a select group of backing
vocalists on much of the material as well.
On “Evertings Cool”, deLANO blurs the line between reggae and
smooth R&P, generating a cool vibey ode to a carefree walk
with Jesus. It’s a theme present throughout the project,
both in lyrics and in tone. There’s none of the Rastafarian
thinking behind this project the stuff that usually
comes bundled with mainstream reggae. Crediting Dr. Myles
Munroe as pastoral influences amongst other notables, you
can rest assured that deLANO comes true with 100% Jesus
Other winning tracks include "1 Reason", with its
slidey synth effects pushing the rhythm and the praise
rhyme to the masses. And you'll have no trouble
being the selector on the sweet praise groove, “Sweet Jah Jah”.
Emancipation is a worthy addition to any collection of
Caribbean Gospel. Introduce yourself to a new edge in Gospel...you
might be surprised!
reviewed by Stan North —
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