and The Anointed Voices of Ford Memorial Temple
Live At Ford Memorial
Live at Ford Memorial Temple marks the return of Bishop Ford to the recording scene. Combining with several industry notables, he brings his resonant bass voice into several of songs on the live project, and uses the opportunity to introduce the nation to the powerful sounds of his own Philadelphia-based church choir, The Anointed Voices of Ford Memorial Temple, as well as several promising soloists (hear audio).
Kudos for the production work from musical director James Poyser and also Rodney Harris. The 'real feel' of the live recording is combined with clear quality sound and a good balance between soloists, band and choir.
Put a huge star beside "Just A Simple Praise". At more than 7 minutes in length, the song a glorious piece of balladic songwriting from Rodney Harris and Joseph Wiley. Margaret Bell Byars takes care of lead vocals, putting a soulful finish on the cut and easily whisking us away into testimonial worship, amidst rippling piano and soothing strings.
Melvin Crispell's choir song, "The Great I Am", is a resounding call to all nations to lift hands to Jesus Christ, the King. Rhymthic song claps take the song into a rich vamp with sticky melody and part intertwining of the lyric, "all over the world, Jesus The Great I Am".
Bishop Ford leads on some instantly-classic choir compositions. "His Mercy Endureth Forever" has the Anointed Voices repeating the song title with drawn-out "Oh, Oh, Ohs" woven in between as the song builds amidst Ford's fiery delivery that draws attention to God's neverending mercy to us. "We Serve A Living God" from Kevin Pringle has the choir at its most powerful. Brassy synths highlight the majesty of God as Bishop Ford embarks on sung ad libs.
Ford Memorial's Pastor Michelle Ford-Johnson is choir directress for The Anointed Voices, and also takes vocal charge of "Weeping May Endure", her sweeping alto harnessing the melodic comfort of the mid-tempo song's lyrics. She also expresses on the forward-looking "Going Home", another Kevin Pringle composition with busy bass and punchy keyboards.
Rodney Harris impresses with both his skilled writing and with his high soulful tenor pipes on several cuts. The uptempo push of "He'll Make A Way" contrasts with the more laidback groove of "Tell It" and the tenderness of "All Honor Belongs To You", where he sings over spoken word from Bishop Ford.
Renowned keyboardist and arranger Steven Ford enters on "All Hail The Power of Jesus Name", producing a new arrangement of this church classic in the expected rich and majestic style his is much in demand for, as his neice (Bishop Ford's daughter) Syreeta Ford intones with lead vocals over soaring and intricate strings and organ and swelling mass choir.
The song is a fitting end to a glorious project.
Three songs snips from Anointed Voices of Ford Memorial's album are available as RealAudio downloads. If you don't have RealAudio, be sure to obtain your free RealAudio player software first, by clicking on the blue RealAudio icon on the right.
To download the 1-minute song snips, simply click on the highlighted text below, let stream on RealAudio, and enjoy.
— reviewed by Stan North —
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