Drea Randle
Ooo Wee

The Prince of Gospel ushers Drea Randle into the limelight with this new release from Verity Records. Handpicked by John P. Kee, she has until now been known primarily for her distinctively smooth leads with Kee’s various vocal collectives (New Life Ooo WeeCommunity Choir, VIP Mass Choir) on songs such as "Strength" and "’Til Morning Comes". With this solo project, Randle establishes herself as a voice to whom attention must be paid.

Production and arrangement excellence are embedded into the project, so kudos to Kee, who is responsible for both. It would be easy for the trademark punchy Kee sound to quench the fluidity of Randle’s pipes.

Happily, Kee decides to let her voice quality dictate the selection of surrounding sounds, with a case in point being "Vessel", where a bed of light acoustic instrumentation serve as the support for the vocals. "Blessings" also follows a similar formula of delightful piano by Kee dancing behind stunning vocals by Randle, offering perhaps the rawest sampling of her voice and range on the project.

Another standout is "Not Forsaken", a heartfelt ballad to a loved one who has gone on, which ministers the comfort that only Jesus Christ can bring in times ofDrea Randle sorrow. Notable here is beautiful supporting acoustic guitar by Tim Mole.

Randle pairs up with brother Erick Mathews on "I’m Waiting", displaying another deliberately simple but powerful song that features Kee on additional vocals. With "Oil of God", Randle holds her own in a re-do of Kee’s song that was recently recorded by Vanessa Bell Armstrong on her Desire of My Heart - Live in Detroit project. No easy feat to follow behind Armstrong, Randle steps in nicely in a rendering all her own.

With an ease of vocal flow, smooth production and interesting lyrics to boot, this solo debut is a success. Classify Drea Randle as another worthy artist introduced to the Gospel community by John P. Kee.

Producers: John P. Kee
album release date: September 14, 1999
New Life / Verity Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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