Restoring The Years

Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers
Restoring The Years

siteAsk for a list of Gospel’s top contemporary choirs, and you’ll invariably get The "Tri-City Singers included in the response.

Under the direction and guidance of songwriter, arranger and producer Donald Lawrence, the past decade has seen the innovative and eclectic crew move into musical pockets that have impacted multiple thousands and influenced untold hundreds of aspiring Gospel choirs.

Restoring The Years presents the best of Donald Lawrence & Tri-City, with EMI Gospel digging into their crates to present some of their finest songs, going as far back as their 1995 sophomore project, Bible Stories. Plus, there’s two newly recorded tracks thrown into the mix.

With a depth of material to choose from, it was no doubt difficult to make decisions on what to include. But some of the song choices were no-brainers. The praise party starters “Never Seen The Righteous” and "The Best Is Yet To Come" rightly got the nod, as did the dance-kicker “Testify”, with hotness injected by famed remix specialist Junior Vasquez.

Restoring The Years
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Lawrence’s teaming up with legends such as Andrae Crouch and Walter Hawkins can’t go unrecognized. Crouch wrote “Bless Me (The Prayer of Jabez)” in collaboration with Lawrence, a smoothly rendered praise melody. “Seasons” is also included, the duet with Walter Hawkins that sees these two voices blend and intermingle with an array of colors and textures.

As for the new material, “Presence of A King” gets a masterful rework (the song first appeared on the choir’s 1997 Christmas project, Hello Christmas), with Arnetta Murrill-Crooms ably taking the ballad over a warm instrumental arrangement featuring cello and keyboards.

The title track “Restoring The Years” has Lawrence taking his familiar role alongside Tri-City, offering up spoken encouragement over a mellowed track featuring acoustic guitar and gentle call and response chorus vocals.

Combine all this with yet more classics such as “When Sunday Comes”, “Stranger” and “When The Saints Go To Worship”, Restoring The Years from Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers is another essential set for those who want to make their Gospel library complete.

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Producer: Donald Lawrence
album release date: November, 2003
EMI Gospel

— reviewed by Stan North

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