Ethan Burnett and the Voices of Judah
Psalms From the Book of Judah 1:1

Geo and Moe Hype take care of the stylized and ‘ultra’ urban studio production while Ethan Burnett and the Voices of Judah do their thing with vocals.

The evidence of this is in plenty on the 14 tracks (including 4 interludes) that make up this debut from Vantage Point Records. Under the direction of Burnett, the six-voiced group hailing from Indianapolis drop a hefty urban flava on cuts such as “God Wants Your Life” and “Dance Like David”. These are songs where the producers are more prominent in their interjections than the group vocals.

Psalms From The Book of Judah 1:1 CDA dance floor beat underlies “It’s You”, with a mid-track rap interjection courtesy Moe Hype. The hype continues on the following track, “Make Me”, when he adds a smattering of ‘human rhythmz’ to subtley support the lyric—call it an urbanized take on Bobby McFerrin.

A standout is “Jesus, Oh Jesus”, which takes a live-recorded and acoustic vocal approach, with simple but effective piano accompaniment from Burnett. The lyrics are simple —"Jesus, Oh Jesus, oh how I love to call your Name”. While more power and consistency in group pipes would be a welcome improvement in spots, the overwhelming message wipes out that shortcoming fairly quickly.

The nearly acappella interludes “The Name” (with a beautiful drop from Regina Bishops) and “The Lamb” are also blessings, and at both only just over one minute each, far to short.

Topping off these Psalms From the Book of Judah 1:1 are two cuts that feature mini-sermonettes insertions from Bishop Randy Sheppard. One of them is “Hold On 2 Your Faith”, which runs away with its relaxed and infectious melody. The live version of the same tune is equally as effective.

Certainly this project will fit well into collections that need some injection of urban —and will satisfy the curiousity of those wondering where urban production might be headed.

Producers: Geo, Moe Hype, Ephlat
album release date: May, 2000
Vantage Point Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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