Ricky Dillard & New G
Unplugged...The Way Church Used To Be

Somebody pulled the plug.

That’s the premise for the latest installment from one of Gospel’s most energetic choir collectives —Ricky Dillard & New G.

Claiming that ‘old time church’ territory that used to be the foundation for nearly every choir project to reach the masses, the famed Chicago choir proves that this ground is as fertile as ever with Unplugged...The Way Church Used To Be.

CD Recorded live at the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park, and produced by both Dillard and Michael Taylor (with co-production from Erron Williams and Derrick Hearns), New G position their glorious vibrato over songs both new and old.

Starting appropriately enough with “Take Me Back”, a new song penned by Dillard that’s fueled with brassy fire from a strong horns crew, the stompy cut recalls the joys of salvation “when we first believed”.

Dillard & New G then turn to gems from the ‘80s, including a remake of Darius Brooks’ “I May Not Have This Chance”, which the choir first interpreted on their 1991 debut, The Promise. With Dillard on lead vocal and with some nice twists along the way, the song gets a facelift over thirteen years later.

Houston favorite Nikki Ross Turnley easily highlights “I Give It To You”, another song from the New G catalogue (1996’s Worked It Out).

Ricky Dillard spent some early days in the ranks of Rev. Milton Brunson’ Thompson Community Singers —and gives honor to the late Maestro here with “There Is No Way”, again with Ross Turnley rendering her stunning lead soprano up front.

Live Recording Recap
Click for concert recap "I slipped into the back with Ricky and New G, who were having an impromptu prayer meeting. The petitions rendered by the members reminded me of those old Pentecostal services. Ricky charged everyone to receive “strength in Jesus’ name”...."

See full live recording recap.

LaShun Pace guests on the Myrna Summers smash “Oh How Precious”, adding her vocal prowess to the grabbing melody and foundational lyrics. Then things get real churchy, with Michael Taylor’s Hammond B3 step in step with New G and soloist Katrina Robinson on “Oh Sweet Wonder”.

DeAndre Patterson (see album review) takes worship leader duties on the crowd-getting old-time fav titled, “Testimony Medley”, and New G revisits Bishop Andre Woods' ballad “Without God”, with Eilsha Joseph Harris on the mic.

Also in this mix is the Timothy Wright maelstrom “Let Us All Go Back” (with LaVarnga Hubbard weaving her vocals into Joey Woolfalk’s strident lead guitar), as well as couple of golden songs from Donald Alford’s songbook (“Soul’d Out” and “Take Over My Life”).

Among all the nostalgia is another new song from Dillard’s pen. “One More Chance”, with its slightly more contemporary keyboard edge, sassy horns and choir part interplay not out of place.

Marvellously combining the hits of yesteryear with his patented and no-mistaking-it style, Ricky Dillard together with New G make Unplugged…The Way Church Used To Be a choir highpoint of 2004.

Ricky Dillard may have pulled that plug, but this project is still electric!

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Producers: Ricky Dillard, Michael Taylor, Derrick Hearns, Erron Williams
album release date: March 16, 2004
Crystal Rose Records

— review by Stan North

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