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Gospel Snapshot

We call these our Gospel snapshots. Mostly independent releases, they deserve attention. Continue to keep checking this page, as more will be added. (Check also our hip-hop snapshot page).


Candi Staton
Here's A Blessing
Beracah Records
Candi Staton CD Weathering many a life storm yet always pulling through is the dominant theme in Candi Staton's testimony. With this, her eleventh Gospel album, you find the full spectrum of Staton's noted tone, spirit and vocal finesse. The project embraces church classics, with the veteran reworking them in her own style. Cuts such as "God Leads His Children Along" and "Come Ye Disconsolate" yield comforting traditional, countrified, rollicking sounds. Backing vocals from Total Grace and Jonathan Alvarado are emphatically superior.

Staton's opening duet with Dottie Peoples has given way to much of the press attention on this disc, and surely it's a sensational cut, with fiery back and forth traded leads ("Shut Up and Start Praying"). But other inclusions such as Staton's live takes of her 1997 hit "Your Face Is The First Face I Want To See" with Joe Ligon, and her 1995 rocker "Mama" also deserve mention. And with a total of 15 tracks on Here's A Blessing, there is no denying that for Staton's fans, it certainly is.


Rebecca Eaglin
God Says You Can
Great VRME Music
Rebecca Eaglin CD Pouring her youthful and sweet expression into encouraging tracks, Rebecca Eaglin impresses on her God Says You Can debut. Itís a short project, but with nice production from Track Design and ear-pulling layered harmonies and ad libbing from Eaglin, itís a satisfying one.

The title track is her own composition, and is the flagship cut, coming with a remix as well. ďItís Not In VainĒ, including an acappella mix thrown in, also deserves spotlight. Watch this teen.


Odis Richmond & Inner Court
Tell Them
Your Move Music
Odis Richmond and Inner Court CD Arkansas-based Your Move Music brings Odis Richmond and Inner Court to the fore on this live sophomore project from the choir. Titled Tell Them, there's a few notable names involved on this project. These include Gerard Hairston who handles production (he also produced MDM and Voices), Tyscot artist Garnelle Spearman who guests on "Nothing Without You" and Darryl and LaTonja Blair on guest vocals (Darryl was formerly with Kirk Franklin and The Family), who appear on "By His Grace".

A capable musician crew (with Levi "Too" King on organ and Pat Franklin on sax) allows Richmond and Inner Court to express their praise over a backdrop of anointed sound. Check the highly grooved "Jesus Is The One" for an excellent example of an instrumental cut that transforms into a vocal praise by track end.


David Gough
Living Out His Love
DoRohn Records
Living Out His Love CD Detroit-based David Gough is frequently referred to as "The Mayor of Gospel". Call it a sign of respect for his devotion to Gospel artists and their work over the year —he founded the Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum. But Gough is also a businessman and an artist, having started up his own label in the late seventies.

With his second project, Living Out His Love, he puts his soft, high tenor, ballad stamp on the project's ten songs, spinning out personal vibes of worship, handling both solo and backing vocals. Valdez Brantley brings his experience to the table, handling instrumentation, arrangements and co-production with Gough. The title track and the melodic "Hold On" should complement quiet storm spins.


Rosie Johnson Jake
Riding on Prayer
New Vision Production
Rosie Johnson Jake CD Some people call her 'Miss Perfect', some call her 'Miss Thang', but she doesn't really mind people calling her names, she knows who she is, she knows who she serves, she's a child of the King.

So says Rosie Johnson Jake on the opening cut, "Do You Know Who You Are? (Child of the King)", off of this sleeper of a project. Reminiscent at times of Shirley Caesar, Jake has that old school vibe with a contemporary twist. Ten tracks strong, the project excels in production quality and original songwriting. There's an abundance of slower songs here, but it's "Around and Around", with its heavily rhythmic backdrop that's the winning cut on Riding On Prayer.


Sons of Thunder
Completely Yours
B-Blessed Records
Sons of Thunder CD The four that make comprise The Sons of Thunder debut with a project heavy on very close harmonies and ministering testimony. Centered on studio cuts, contemporary rhythm tracks (with production courtesy of Andre T. Campbell) dominate and bring home songs such as the smooth-flowing "Completely Yours", which lyrically represents the focus of the group. The killer track on the project is "There's Something 'Bout (Holy Ghost)" which rides along boisterously with Donnie Bolden Jr. taking lead and phat call and response from The Lighthouse For Jesus Praisers. Another highlight is the gently melodic "Keep On Blessing Me".

Clearly this CD is a labor of love, and while there are some loose vocal ends that deserve attention on the the close harmony cuts, the group shows promise.


Laura Thompson
Together
Arualcat Music Company / Bonsai
Laura Thompson CD On her sophomore solo project, singer-songwriter Laura Thompson continues to create treads with her distinctive combination of rich alto/tenor vocals and creative, sometimes jazzy composition. She has a strongly melodic approach that defies categorization into either the urban or traditional. And somehow she does that even though there's some rap elements infused into several of the cuts.

Thompson shines strongest on her title cut, "Together". Encouraging believer unity, she uses a clever melodic motif to bring home the point, and surrounds the composition with some nice organ swirls and rhythms from TheEye. "Masa God" is catchy tribute to Thompson's grandmother who, obviously from the style of the song, hailed from the Carribean. Nice key changes, thickly stacked sound and reggae rap from Joey Allyne characterize the cut. Production throughout the CD is credited to TheEye.

ó reviewed by Stan North ó



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