Minister Eddie Robinson - In Stores Now

Eddie Robinson
Live At The Grove

As a songwriter for Dottie Peoples, you most assuredly have heard his compositions, which include Dottie's hits, "First Class Physician", "All My Help" and "Begin Again". Minister Eddie Robinson is also credited with the title cut of the GMWA Mass Choir's latest project, What He's Done, which was recorded in Philly in 1998.

Robinson's gift for traditional choir songwriting and arrangement finds another outlet on this, his debut recording, Live At The Grove. Robinson puts together 14 songs on the project, weaving together piano-accented bandwork, choice lead vocals from an unheralded team and an undeniably anointed choir flava from Atlanta's Greater Piney Grove Mass Choir and The Fellowship Chorale, at the Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, where Robinson has previously served as Minister of Music.

Touching on project highlights isn't difficult. Alto Shirley Rouse's very gritty determination Eddie Robinson CDin belting out the lead for "I Know Who I Am" takes the number beyond standard fare, and exemplifies the spirit of the lyrics. The cut includes a short instrumental reprise that carries on the traditional groove laid by the song proper.

On the acappella tip, Robinson takes the spiritual, “Walk In Jerusalem Just Like John”, and transforms it into a cut entitled, “I Want To Be Ready”, transforming it into inventive choir-part polyphony. The song also includes a powerful but brief classical lead from Geraldine Huff.

Church choirs looking for new Sunday morning hit material need look no further than the melody-driven and rhythm-heavy "Jesus Is His Name", on which Robinson himself takes lead vocals. "I'm In Your Hands" is another one that will catch a director's ear.

Production throughout this project from Chosen Records is commendable, as producer Norris Garner succeeds in capturing the live feel so crucial to the traditional genre, without sacrificing sound quality. Sound from choir, soloist and band is crisp and evenly mixed from beginning to end of the 62 minutes on the disc.

This is a traditional choir masterwork all the way, crammed with anointed church-bound creations, establishing that Minister Eddie Robinson is one of today’s premiere traditional songwriters and choral arrangers.

Producer: Norris Garner
album release date: late 1999
Chosen Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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