Deitrick Haddon Presents...
Nu Hymnz II: Live From The Motor City

Nu Hymnz CD The last time we checked, our hero was busy assembling the church youth of Motor City, uniting them in a single musical gathering at Perfecting Church, pastored by Marvin L. Winans.

Collaborating with rising psalmists and joining forces with some of Gospel’s greatest names, the collective of 300 voices delivered to us Nu Hymnz Volume I (see sidebar below).

For the continuation of the two-part series, Tyscot again throws the foundational church song torch to Deitrick Haddon, as he re-visits the scene of the first project's victory. Hopes are high. Will the cherised hymns of the saints once again be refitted to withstand the pressures of contemporary waves that relentlessly pound on the shores of these hymns? Will the songs of old weather the urban storm?

Click for review of Nu Hymnz Volume I Click for review of Damita Click for review of Chain Breaker Click on each of the above images to check out the related features.
The answer is found as the 15-track saga unfolds. In brief, while not as strong as the debut in the series, this project is worthy on several fronts. Examples are “By And By” with arrangement from Haddon and Mike Harper. Sweetly grooved and with clear choir harmonies, Barry Ginyard makes nice work on lead with emphatic bass support from Andrae Smith. Haddon himself sings on “Saved By His Power Divine” and Damita Haddon picks things up on a steady, rocking, “Lift Up Your Head”.

Both Haddons steps in to rework some bounce into “You Can’t Tell Me”, as little sister Clarita Haddon takes the mic and Terrance Church torches a rap segment in the middle. Tammi Haddon can also be heard in front of “The Moment I Believe”.

Local Detroit radio gets the spotlight as announcers from WMUZ, WCHB and WDTR come with MC ability to intro several cuts —for example, the irrepressible Carl B. Philips hypes things from the get-go on his intro to “Stand By Me”, a fast-moving cut jointly arranged by he and Gabe Young that features the vocals of Freddie and Valerie Anderson.

On “Living In Me”, you can catch more of the increasingly prominent vocal gift of Charles Laster Jr., as he marks the disk with his own arrangement of “Living In Me”.

The ruggedness of the mass sound is perhaps to be expected from a one-time project such as this, and no doubt, 300 voices are difficult to blend in the best of circumstances. But where lacking in finesse, Nu Hymnz makes up for in sheer force of purpose.

As for our Motown hero, call the mission a success. The 'nu hymnz' get more than just grammatical makeover, and with true praise like this, you cannot go wrong.

Producers: Deitrick Haddon
album release date: February 2001
Tyscot Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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