Ernest Lee & the Spirit of David
Detroit’s Ernest Lee & The Spirit of David spare no energy in delivering a hyper-driven collection of praise and bounce on their debut, Encourage Yourself.Producers: Ernest Lee, Joe Smith
album release date: April 2001
Taking on a role akin to Kirk Franklin, Tyrone Tribbett (or perhaps a much more vocally intense T.D. Jakes), Lee makes his presence known on each cut, not only with his penchant for fast-paced songwriting, but with his ability to translate his abundant enthusiasm into what are obviously heavy choir kinetics and a hands-in-the-air visual feast.
With previous songwriting experience (Fred Hammond, Derrick Milan's Ministry and Praise) and his days as keyboardist in the RFC band under his belt, Lee comes at you full throttle. But as he himself states, "the beat can be bumpin' but you still gotta be saying sumthin!"
And that sumthin’ is some flat out ministry, with a decided emphasis on deliverance. Songs such as "Victory In Jesus’ Name" with LaJimmease Murray on lead and the jazzed "Hold Out" with Leisa ReVels singing hard, encourage while recognizing the reality of spiritual warfare.
Bouncy praise gems are liberally tossed in through the package. "David’s Dance" and "Dominion" are prime examples, with phat studio tracks and engineering from the experienced Billy Meadows. Toss in some nicely finessed guitar work from Byron Stanfield, and you get a sound that's fresh and a vibe that's hype.
But the track that just kills is "Gotta Get It". Referencing life’s battle to stand in Jesus Christ and the goal of getting what He promises (eternal life), Lee uses an awesomely grooving bass line, with plenty rhythm overlays and synth sweetness to drive the vocal point home. Perry Bernard and Anita Newby contribute along with Lee’s exhortations, generating an infectious four+ minutes.
The double-mix inclusion of "Above My Head" also generates new millenium head nods. Both the original mix and the "Sunday Morning remix" use some innovative dry percussives to create a cool but spicy feel to the 100% remake of this age-old lyric (with added words too).
Half studio, half live (recorded at Great Faith Ministries Intl. in Detroit with production from Joe Smith), Encourage Yourself holds up this year's standard for the urban contemporary choir.
David's Dance Music
reviewed by Stan North —
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