Bishop Paul S. Morton
Crescent City Fire

They say not to judge a book by it's cover. Same holds true for a CD, and this is an excellent case in point. A menacing Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr., complete with fedora and dark shades, doesn't quite mesh with inside audio content. Crescent City Fire brings it to you on a whole different level.

The presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship has already demonstrated his capabilities as both a powerful vocalist and a gifted songwriter on numerous Greater St Stephen's Mass Choir projects, and Bishop Paul S. Morton CDtwo Full Gospel Fellowship Baptist Mass Choir projects.

With this solo project --his Gospo Centric debut-- Morton brings a highly personal introspective to the Gospel arena. Morton states up front that God used the "wilderness of a breakdown" to speak intimately to him.

Forgoing lyrical clichés, Morton dives to the heart with deep songwriting and powerful testimony, with topics centering around gratitude, deliverance and spiritual warfare. Evident from the joyous lyric contained within the album's 12 tracks, God has once again turned mourning into dancing, and has worked everything out for the good for those that love Him.

Particularly striking and personal is "Order", with poetic and genuine lines such as: "The Spirit of the Lord led me into my mind to be tempted by the devil….oh there got to be a very good reason, when the Spirit, when He leads me."

Songwriter/producer Percy Bady brings a righteous rhythmic punch to selections such as "Grateful" and "I Have Authority", while veteran Gospel producer Sanchez Harley delivers with his usual capability Bishop Paul S. Morton CDon the remaining tracks. While Morton may not have the same vocal fluidity as he used to, and at times sounds a little strained, it is his heartfelt renderings from start to finish that make this project shine.

Although the Greater St. Stephen's Mass Choir is not present to encourage the Bishop on this recording (Morton is signed only as a solo artist with Gospo Centric), the supporting cast of Lonnie Hunter and the Voices of St. Mark, Visions: A Choral Ministry, and Lamar Campbell and Spirit of Praise take on the choir role with gusto. Additional backing vocals from seasoned studio session voices such as Melonie Daniels, Nathan Young, Duane Starling and Ann McCreary round out the cast.

With an intensity and a vocal brightness not often associated with studio recordings, and with powerfully anointed songs, this album comes recommended.

Producers: Sanchez Harley and Percy Bady
album release date: July 20, 1999
Gospo Centric

— reviewed by Stan North —

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