Reverend George C. Searight & Royal Priesthood
Designed For Praise

Here’s a choir that has earned the respect of those who have heard them. An in-the-pocket band combined with steady, tight choir vocals make Royal Priesthood capable of jamming like very few others. Coming out of the Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and under the pastorship and leadership of Rev. George Searight, this choir emerged with their debut, self-titled project back in 1994, on the Designed For Praise CDshort-lived but talent-heavy Proclaim Records. However, due to the demise of the label soon after their album was released, it never got the attention it deserved.

Zooming to 1999, Priesthood is back with their independently-released Designed For Praise, which brings together some of the same East coast Gospel elements that garnered choir attention on their debut, in part because Clay Bogan III continues to have a firm grip on the production reigns, and also on keys and song arrangements.

The sanctified party jam of the album is Craig Hayes’ “Trust Him”, with Antwan Barrett-Searight taking the bass line for a wild ride, laying the track for a smoking groove. Also prominent are the large number of quality cuts that are more ballad than bump. Tyretta Meadows' smooth soprano lead on “Changed My Name” and the encouraging “You Don’t Wanna Miss” are notable in this category.

The uplifting invitational “You Have A Place To Go”, featuring Rev. Searight’s vocals with call and response from the choir, Rev. George C. Searight & Royal Priesthoodis also worthy of mention. Searight also contributes vocally to “Like As A Deer”, which features the Abundant Life Family youth choir, Chosen Generation, and exquisite ad-libbing from the leads.

It’s always a good thing to see artists continuing with their vision, paying little heed to adversity. Previous record label difficulties have not prevented this choir from remaining an East coast flava collective to reckon with.

Producers: Clay Bogan III
album release date: August, 1999
See-The-Right Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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