Ray Bady
Mission K.O.B. (Keep On Believin')

The drummer / vocalist in Gospel is rarity. Sheila E. comes to mind. Now there’s Ray Bady.

 CDIn the first new artist offering from Gospo Centric in long while, the noted drums specialist comes decked in a black vinyl zip suit on cover art as he turns to vocals for his solo debut.

Bady injects a solid urban dose of Gospel jams bumps and ballads into the sonic marketplace.

Bringing in his noted brother Percy Bady for co-production makes this project a real gem. The respected veteran brings his savvy to the table to ensures that the material hangs on Ray’s warm vocal tones. Penning much of the material jointly with his brother, the totality of the album is solid and thoroughly enjoyable.

The title track, Mission K.O.B. (Keep On Believin’), is a duet between Ray and Percy, and hits hard with its powerful self-encouragement to simply hang in and keep strong in Jesus Christ. It’s the core of Bady’s message on the album, and for the piece, he brings in some of Chicago’s brightest Gospel male vocalists to lend their voices to the resounding, nearly acappella chorus. They’re all here: Ricky Dillard, VaShawn Mitchell, Darius Brooks, Tyrone Block, Cedric Ford, Lonnie Hunter, Daniel Weatherspoon, Walt Whitman, DeAndre Patterson, Stephen Jones, Rev. Bryant Jones, Pharis Evans Jr. and more.

“He’s Able” powerfully details the ominipotence of God, with Ray Bady testifying that ‘tho sometimes I stumble, there’s a war deep within, I know the Lord is my refuge, on Ray BadyHim I can depend.” It’s a down-tempo song which derives its potency from a strong hook embedded in the chorus.

Other notable cuts include the remake of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me”, which concludes with a wonderfully relevant vamp that lyrically and musically recalls Percy Bady’s song from the title track of Marvin Sapp’s Grace and Mercy project from 1997. This added part makes the entire song suddenly come into focus:

“Your grace and mercy brought me through,
If it wasn’t for your love,
Tell me what would I do”

—from "Mercy, Mercy Me"

“God Don’t Want No Haters ‘N The Church” and the hip-hop anthem “Livin’ This Kinda Life” generate a jeep-ready bump, and stand as the most street of the offerings on Bady’s debut.

The trend to chat with a bishop continues on Mission K.O.B., with Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. lending an ear this time around. “Conversations” is predominantly sung rather than spoken, and tells of life testimony that will resonate with many. Morton and Bady trade leads in telling of the importance and the struggle of making the right decisions.

Ray Bady is no novelty act of a drummer-cum-vocalist. No, he offers great vocals and great songs in a ministry that needs to be heard.

Producers: Ray Bady, Percy Bady
album release date: May 7, 2002
Gospo Centric Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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