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Various Artists
Great Gospel Moments 4-CD Series

The beauty of this four-CD Gospel compilation set from Word Entertainment's Women of Gospel CDSpecial Products Division isn't simply because it contains some great old standbys from Gospel legends.

It does do that, but there's also a strong assortment of very recent hits in the mix as well, and to top it off, a selection of relatively rare gems.

Sorted into four thematic categories and placed on four separately-available CDs co-ordinated by appealing artwork based on a collage of chromic photography, there's a total of forty-four tracks between them:

  • Women of Gospel
  • Men of Gospel
  • Gospel's Greatest Choirs
  • Rev. Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Singers
On the Women disc are chestnuts from Mavis Staples, singing solo on "Some Sweet Day (Ain't It Wonderful)" and Tata Vega on "Table in the Wilderness". Cuts from Albertina Walker ("Hold Your Peace" from 1989), Inez Andrews ("God's Got A Way" from 1986) and Shirley Caesar ("Hold My Mule") make it mighty historical.

Kelli William's "Wrong Road" (with Walter Hawkins), The Clark Sisters' "Medley" and Nicole C. Mullen's wonderful "On My Knees" are some of more recent hits included. The rare gem includes a seldom-heard version of "In The Garden" pulled from the 1986 release from Janet Lynn Skinner.

Men of Gospel CDMen of Gospel focuses primarily on the traditional side, with Joe Ligon's "Old Revival Back Home" (produced in 1985 by James Cleveland) and Al Green's "Love is Reality" being the two openers.

Pioneer Rance Allen's "What Would You Do" from the 1985 release "I Give Myself To You" is still very wonderful, as is Richard Smallwood's "Vision" from 1988 album of the same name. Rounding out the set are cuts from Douglas Miller ("Living On The Top", written by Dr. Ed Montgomery and produced by Thomas Whitfield), The Williams Brothers and a song from BeBe Winans ("It's Only Natural") that appeared on instrumentalist Keith Thomas' 1986 project, Kaleidoscope.

Gospel Great Choirs CDChoirs CD puts the focus on the church sounds of O'landa Draper's Associates ("Keep Me Jesus") as well as Dr Charles Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir on "Shout Till Your Walls Fall Down". The Tommies have two songs and Bishop Norman Wagner & The Mt. Calvary Concert Choir are brought back.

Ears are drawn most easily to two songs from a couple of choirs that may have fallen off the radar screen for many. "Get In A Hurry" is an early 80's cut from The New York Community Choir, complete with brassy disco sound. And "I'll Make It Alright" comes from the 1973 release of the same name from The Beautiful Zion Choir. It has that early 70's, Hawkins-influenced organic sound that somehow never goes out of style. Put stars beside these two songs and get the CD if only to hear them.

An entire disc is separately devoted to The Tommies. Included in the set Tommies CDare some of their strongest songs over the past two decades, including "Shout", "He's Still Good", "My Mind's Made Up (remix)" and Kimberly McFarland's solo masterpiece, "I Tried Him and I Know Him". The range of contemporary and traditional pieces showcases the diversity of the Chicago choir mainstays, founded by the late Rev. Milton Brunson.

Call this compilation series a most welcome dust off of songs that were never meant to be buried in the vaults. Each CD in the set has some great rare cuts and some of the greatest songs to have hit the airwaves in their time.

Kudos all the way round to Word Entertainment for this product.


Producers: Various
album release date: November, 2001
Word Entertainment


reviewed by Stan North



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