Dr. Elton T. Byrd and the Inspirational Ensemble
Whisper A Prayer

With Whisper a Prayer, Dr. Elton T. Byrd returns with a stunning live project, packing a emphatic wallop with his Inspirational Ensemble, combined with a complement of vocal guests in one of the year’s strongest traditional offerings.

On the two songs where the venerable Dr. Byrd himself takes the mic, he shows that he’s retained every ounce of his ingenuity for simple but compelling vocals. The ‘old time’ CD feel of the title cut will never lose its appeal with its call and response and sparse guitar accompaniment. “My Change Has Come” is a wonderful example of testimony in song.

Evangelist Beverly Crawford puts a direct charge into “Lord, I’ve Tried”, an absolutely churchy number that is crying out for radio play. Written by the album’s producer, Derrick Lee, the song has a bluesy edge propelled by Al Willis' guitar.

Crawford returns on Lee’s arrangement of “He’ll Understand”. In swing fashion, she balances her vocal approach with that of the choir and band.

Newcomer Joshua Nelson makes a guest appearance on the project’s closing track, “It’s Gonna Be Alright”. Possessing a marvellous knack for knowing how to vocally ‘swing’ a song into an irresistable groove, Nelson works back and forth with choir, the cadence between the two being an album highlight.

The sounds and the ministry found on Dr. Byrd’s Whisper A Prayer is proof positive that God is continuing to sow talent and invest his gift into traditional Gospel.

Producer: Derrick Lee
album release date: August, 2002
Marxan Records

— review by Stan North

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