Rev. James Moore
Family and Friends: Live from Detroit

On this new Malaco offering, Rev. James Moore delivers one of his strongest projects in years, with his inimitable vocal style and Gospel approach hitting all the right buttons one more time.

Returning again to his hometown of Detroit, Moore unites with longtime James Moore CDproduction and songwriting collaborator (and cousin), Rudolph Stanfield Jr., but also invites multiple friends to join him in delivering a fine treat of traditional Detroit Gospel.

Evident in every aspect of this project is Moore's absolute devotion to Jesus Christ. His severely debilitating illness in recent years (due to the ravages of diabetes), have obviously only served to strengthen his relationship his Lord. His stamina may not be what it once was, but Moore still has the richness of sound and the beauty of tone that has made him one of Gospel's most beloved soloists.

One of the most powerful songs is the melodic two-part "My Relationship". In classic James Moore style, he sounds out the solo line, ad libbing and frequently speaking to choir and band, bringing them in spontaneously as the song unfolds. The trio of guesting choirs (New Revelation Singers, Derrick Milan and Peter's Rock Choir (see review) and Michael Fletcher & The Michael Fletcher Chorale) excel at subtle, diction-super backing vocals, delivered on cue. This song has staying power, with the melody etching into the memory.

On "Lord You're Faithful", Vanessa Bell Armstrong joins Moore in duet on a marvelous interpretation 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness'. Their voices blending nicely, the hymn is supported by gentle keyboard stylings from Stanfield. Moore's "He Will Provide", with backing from the rising sounds of Benjamin Cone III & Worship, is an uptempo gem that comes filled with punchy horn highlights.

Other high points on the project include Darius Twyman (see review) who leads on his own song "Rise Shine", which rides a groove with Myron Bell's infectious and complex conga work. Tolan Morgan handles lead on the uptempo "I've Been Made Whole" —another jewel. Rudolph Stanfield Sr. makes a rare solo vocal appearance on the very traditional "I Know The Lord Will Make a Way".

While medical difficulties made the live recording a challenge for Moore, nifty studio work and overdubs have smoothed out the wrinkles, transforming this project into a 'must' for anyone who is serious about improving their Gospel collection.

Producer: Rudolph Stanfield Jr.
album release date: March, 2000

reviewed by Stan North

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