Robert Lowe & Generations
Total Experience

It's a rarity when a tiny label can snag a well known artist for a guest spot on their album. But New York based Moriah Music Group manages to bring in a whole netful on Total Experience, their debut release.

Featuring Robert Lowe & Generations, the project includes new music from Men of Standard, Marvin Sapp, Monique Walker, Nancey Jackson and others. Not a newcomer by any stretch, Lowe (previously recorded on the Robert Lowe & Generations CDdefunct Tribute Records label, with the Queen's Community Choir) uses the title of the album to present a broad spectrum of Gospel styles to your player.

Running the gamut from church drive to contemporary groove, with a dose of ultra-urban tossed in for added spice at the end, you can easily paste stars beside many of these selections.

Love Fellowship's Monique Walker lends her distinctive First Lady pipes to the slow ballad "Until You Get Here / Until The Trumpet Sounds", which is a Gospel cover of the popular song originally sung by Canadian R&B diva Deborah Cox. In the same vein is "Secret Place", a six minute tapestry woven by Twinkie Clark. Album highlights both, these cuts fan the flames of the fires that plea for respective solo projects from these two ladies.

Men of Standard's "I Believe It" features their blended four-voice church-edged harmonies on a cut that encourages faith in God's promises. With brassy keyboard punches and a prominent bass line secured by smooth strings and backup from the Generations choir, this too is a trophy cut.

The two urban selections are don't quite match up to the same level of excellence, even with the emergence of 80's old school rapper Doug E. Fresh on "Put Your Hands Up", and Marvin Sapp on "Trust & Obey". While Sapp deliver his usual stellar performance, he sounds a little out of place on the hype urban track that surrounds the song.

Some of the lesser known names will catch a few ears with their contributions, particularly Evangelist Sandra Cepada, who can be heard on two songs ("The Difference" in duet with Robert Lowe, and "Standing On The Promises", where she sings lead). Her vocal range is vast, and she brings forth an intriguingly refreshing soprano sound. The Generations choir is strong on every level of their contribution.

Look for more to come from the church-based Moriah Music Group. With songwriter Gary Montoute on board (showing strong and diverse songwriting and arrangment skills), and with support from superb in-church studio facilities, the label looks to be well positioned to make a mark.

Producers: Gary Montoute and Robert Lowe
album release date: March, 2000
Moriah Music Group

reviewed by Stan North

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