Ricky Dillard and New G
No Limit

Stagnancy is not the hallmark of a vibrant artist. Conversely, it’s sometimes disappointing to check out the lastest album of a favorite artist to find that you no longer recognize the flava that drew you to their work in the first place.

Having found that happy but elusive pocket in the middle of these two potentials is what makes the latestNo Limit CD project from Ricky Dillard and New G such a joy. No Limit is not so much a reinvention of Dillard’s famed Chicago choir sound, but rather a streamlining or tuneup.

Powered this time by the formidable band engine that includes Kevin Randolph (Youth Edition see review) on keyboards, Michael Taylor on organ, with Calvin Rodgers handling drums, the tuneup gets its test in the two remakes of previous New G hits. “You Oughta’ Been There”, which first made its appearance on Holy Ghost Takeover, takes on a jazzy flow, courtesy of extra arrangements from Maceo Harris and some nice piano meanderings from Randolph, making it jump ‘atcha like for the first time. New G’s Darius Brooks-penned classic “Promise” from New G’s 1991 debut album of the same name is also given the millenial treatment, this time with Donald Lawrence guesting and some superbly finessed organ swirling from Taylor.

As for the new cuts, there’s no shortage of compliments waiting to be tossed their way. Leading is the title cut, with guest soloist Nikki Ross (previously astounding on projects from Texans Shawn McLemore and Eric Carrington —see review). Lyrics come from longtime Hawkins Family collaborator Rusty Watson, and supporting melody and beats from Daniel Fitzpatrick. The result is a song with instant classic status. Ross lays down one of the most georgeous vocal tracks so far this year.

New G’s vibratic antics are in full flight on Freddie Washington’s “God’s Will is What I Want”. Progressively moving up eleven modulations to finish in a key that vocal cord doctors warn about, this is a song with a sticky melody and words thatRicky Dillard are welcomingly received by your spirit. “Why Should I Be Bound”, penned by Carnell Murrell and with Elisha Joseph on lead, is another one for the highlight reel, with a precious ministry.

Dillard brings his recognizable writing (and production) touch to project on multiple cuts, combining considerable church sound influence with the contemporary. “That’s Just Like Him” rocks the ‘house’ while “No Condemnation” and “Let The Redeemed Say So” are examples of classic Ricky.

Like most reviews of solid, deep projects, it’s nearly impossible to make words do justice. The only solution to this is to stop reading this review and spend considerable time immersing yourself in the CD. With the finely tuned Ricky Dillard and New G stronger than ever before, that certainly won’t be a chore!

Producers: Ricky Dillard, Kevin Randolph
album release date: July 18, 2000
Crystal Rose

— reviewed by Stan North

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