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Renee Spearman presents Prosperity
From A Songwriter's Perspective

Sporting a collage of artistic black and white images on the CD liner, Renee Spearman and The Prosperity Crusade Choir take their Gospel with the fundamental basics on their REG Recordings Gospel debut: a live recording with powerful vocals, tight band and true lyrics.

From A Songwriters Perspective CDIndustry notables hop on board in support of the South-Cal based community choir, lending their voices and adding their mark to the thirteen cuts, each written by Spearman, who founded the choir back in 1993.

Dr. Bobby Jones takes a prominent role, evident not only in the obvious MC capacity, but also in lead vocals on the rollicking traditional church cut, “No Question”. It’s one of a number of cuts that sound right for Sunday morning. The album opener, “Lift Him Higher” fits into that slot as well, with Minister Byron Cage exhorting and giving up the praise in front of Prosperity. The short reprise emphasizes the chorus of repeated “higher, higher, higher”.

Cage appears again on “You Could Have Chosen Someone Else”, another reprised selection, and one that lets saxophone master Donald Hayes move his instrument tenderly through the soft choir chorus. Hayes’ work throughout this project is one of its strong points.

Kesha Ealy (known for work with Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers and in her role as “Angel” in David Talbert’s Gospel stage play, Mr. Right Now) is the featured soloist on “That’s What He’s Done”, a slower ballad with a light jazz flair.

Even with all the high profile guests, Prosperity’s own resident vocalists make their mark, particularly Algernon Johnson, who offers up soulful leads on "Glad I Found You" and "New Attitude".

Perhaps the best is saved to the last cut, as Prosperity’s Jenean Carter tackles “A Friend” with boundless energy —the Prosperity Band kicking up a storm behind her. The jamming continues until the cut fades and the CD stops spinning.


Producers: William Middlebrooks, Renee Spearman, Patrick Ross
album release date: Fall 1999
REG Recordings Gospel


— reviewed by Stan North



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