Rev. Norman Hutchins

Rev. Norman Hutchins first caught the attention of the Gospel community with the song, “Press Towards the Mark” on the Los Angeles Saints in Praise project some years ago. His subsequent solo career with Sparrow Records, and other songwriting ventures Norman Hutchins CDgenerated hits such as “You Were There” and “In the Master’s Hand”, tunes that still resonate in community and church choirs across the lands. It’s been much too long between projects from Hutchins, so credit JDI Records for putting the singing pastor originally from North Carolina back on the recording map.

On Battlefield, backed by the South Bay Singers, Hutchins once again delivers churchy rhythms punctuated by his fiery sing-preach exhortations. The man can truly minister and the man can truly write a song; the combination is powerful.

Call and response choir cuts are particularly strong on this project, with “Even Me” and the simmering, funk-based “I Know I’ve Been Washed” leading the way. Praise and worship ballads continue to be solid for Hutchins, with “Hallelujah’” and the aptly-named “Praise and Worship” (which also serves as a medley of past favorites from the artist), emerging this time around. There is also a remake of “Press Towards the Mark”.

This is church music, so it is appropriate that it was recorded live at Long Beach’s Greater Harvest Church of God in Christ. In summing up this project, Hutchins describes it best himself: ‘We let the tape roll, and we let the anointing fall.”

Producers: James Roberson and Jason White
album release date: June 29, 1999
JDI Records

— reviewed by Stan North —

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