It’s time for another experienced Gospel vocalist to emerge from the crevasses of album credits to take his place in the spotlight of musical ministry.Producers: various
album release date: January 16th, 2001
South Carolina’s Desmond Pringle comes at us with plenty of crevass experience, ranging from Yolanda Adams to Tyrone Dickerson to Twinkie Clark to Rev. Clay Evans. Toss in his contributions to the Space Jam soundtrack and T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed project, and you don’t need us to tell you that the man has a standout resumé, and a vast versatility.
On his Tommy Boy Gospel debut, Loyalty, the immensity of Pringle’s vocal presence nearly knocks you over, and more often than not, he does it with a feather. But he also shows he can power with the best of them.
Gospel’s finest producers were assembled for this debut. Admirably, as a unit they avoid their profession’s banana peel. As it should be, the focus is always on the artist, not on studio tricks.
Killer cuts abound, with “I’m Blessed (Highly Favored of the Lord)” prime among them. A funky track from Fred Hammond’s pen and production, with his psalmist and vocal colleagues stepping in to support as well, Pringle lays claim to the truth that we are ‘the head and not the tail’ regardless of whether or not we even feel that way.
“He Is Touched” beautifully tells how Jesus as our high priest is nevertheless touched by our sorrow, our pain. It’s Pringle’s own composition, and Roger Ryan’s production adds to his Luther-esque tones perfectly, with strings and piano. Infinite Praise supports with a vocal backdrop.
Ryan’s work with Pringle is a highlight of this project, as the two combine forces to create powerful ballads. “Loyalty”, the remake of “Jesus Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” (which does millenial justice to the classic while leaving its James Cleveland memories unharmed) and “The Invitation” are all worthy.
On the urban tip, Pringle excels on “Someone To Trust”. It’s easily the best of the several Derek “DOA” Allen-produced cuts here, with a nice bump and meshy vocals from Juanita Wynn supporting Pringle’s. Allen also contributes with songwriting and production on “Wanna Show Luv” and “You’re My Everything”.
Derek "DOA" Allen
Derek Allen is among the growing roster of Gospel songwriters on the Disney Music Publishing roster (others include Donnie McClurkin and Rev. Smokie Norful).
Artist projects on which Allen's work can be heard include those from The Pilgrim Jubilees, Tarralyn Ramsey, The Tommies and the upcoming 2001 junior release from Virtue.
Allen is also working on a Black Music Retrospective album which includes narration by noted Harvard scholar, Dr. Cornell West.
T.Boy and 5’0 do their thing on “I Love U 4 U”, and the production duo of Kenny Harris and Dale Harewood make a showing on the nicely flowing “Yours Exclusively”.
Rounding out the album, Pringle joins up with Percy Bady on some pleasing mid-tempo tracks. The most notable is the cover of Creed’s hit ode to fatherhood, “With Arms Wide Open”. There’s an urban remix of the song from Michael Allen with Lexi in vocal support to conclude the fourteen-track album.
Billed by Tommy Boy Gospel as a frontrunner to emerge as the premiere male vocalist in Gospel, we would have to agree. Watch out for Desmond Pringle.
Tommy Boy Gospel
reviewed by Stan North —
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