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Rodney Posey and Praise
El Shaddai

Rodney Posey was introduced to the Gospel nation by Donald Lawrence in 1994. With an assembly of special guests, the debut album (Donald Lawrence Presents Rodney Posey Live in Praise and Worship with The Whitfield Company), was warmly welcomed as Posey presented his praise-filled song stylings.

Now, with a sophomore release five years after the debut, it is evident that some things Rodney Posey CD have remained constant. Posey demonstrates that his gift for straight out praise has increased, and Donald Lawrence remains involved, with significant production and song-writing contributions.

However, this time round there's even more, for El Shaddai marks the introduction of Posey's own 12-voice vocal ensemble, Praise. (Interestingly, the talented EMI Gospel solo artist Darwin Hobbs, is listed in the album credits as a group member for the project, although Hobbs doesn't take on any solo responsibilities on this project.) Praise provides well-balanced and tightly-knit vocals all the way through.

The awesomely-grooved title cut is making waves in radio with its steady flow and looped tracks. Likewise, "Wailing to Dancing" is a successful jam with a calpyso beat and sound. Both songs are penned and produced by Donald Lawrence. However, most of the other tracks on the project are more laid back, and foster more of an eyes-close, hands-up praise. Lawrence handles these as brilliantly as he does the grooves, recruiting renowned arranger Paul Riser (known for his work on R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly") to lay down the swelling string tracks Rodney Posey(courtesy of the string section of The Detroit Symphony Orchestra) behind Posey's and Praise's vocals on selections such as "Holy" and "Lord I Worship You".

Another difference from the debut project, is the inclusion of Fred Hammond throughout the credits, as he makes his contributions not just as musician (bass, keys, drum programming) and producer, but also as co-songwriter with Kim Rutherford on three cuts. With Praise backing Posey's soaring lead vocals throughout, Hammond sensitively renders a sound appropriate to Posey's style.

A case in point is "My Father", which is a clear ballad with fresh lyrics:

"Like a child, I can run to Him,
Daddy loves me, my Father cares for me"

But Hammond also takes Posey to the other side of soft, with "I Will Rejoice", which has a slightly edgier and funkier sound. In fact, from start to finish, El Shaddai offers an refreshing combination of swelling praise ballads and jams.

His first entry onto Gospel stage was welcomed. This long overdue sophomore release establishes him as one of Gospel's most gifted praise artists. Welcome back Rodney Posey!


Also check out Rodney Posey's involvement with The Ninth Street Baptist Workshop Choir

Producers: Donald Lawrence, Fred Hammond, Michael J. Powell
album release date: October 5, 1999
Crystal Rose


reviewed by Stan North



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