Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago
Generation X Celebration

The Soul Children of Chicago have hit the deck running with this awe-inspiring collection of collaboration and song, assembled together in their new album Generation X Celebration. Under the dynamic and disciplined leadership of director Walt Whitman, the Soul Children (ages 7 to 17), lift their voices with a richness of tone and a precision of diction seldom heard in a children's choir.

The album is chock full of songs that have 'hit' written all over them. One such is "My Father Knows", featuring guest soloist Lecresia Campbell. This ballad, suitably powered by the finesse of Campbell's renowned vocals, lingers in the ear long after the CD has stopped spinning. Deitrick and Damita Haddon are the other noted guest Soul Children of Chicago CDvocalists on this project, and their work on the inventive soulful anthem "Stop the Tears" is a masterwork that does not disappoint.

But the beauty of this project is that it's strength does not rest on outside contributions alone. The children themselves are the vital backbone to every song, and soloists from within the choir show themselves more than capable. Special mention must be given to Keisha McFarland, whose contribution to "His Eye is On the Sparrow" stuns the ear, not simply because of the strong similarity in sound and voice inflection to that of her older sister Kim McFarland, but for the beauty and the power of her voice on it's own.

With so much to offer, Generation X Celebration deserves quality production. This project gets that and more, as Walt Whitman recruits Aaron Lindsey (who has previous production credits on Yolanda Adams and Charles Woolfork albums) as co-producer. Whether it be the vocoder-heavy groove of "Greater He" or the smooth ballad cover of the well-known hymn "We Are One", vocals are never overshadowed by the band. (And even the band, including guitar maestro Jonathan DuBose, get their due on the instrumental cut "Play On").

To claim that Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago are a top-notch children's Gospel choir would be a great understatement, for Generation X Celebration shows that they are more than that, and have stepped beyond to reside in the upper ranks of Gospel music excellence. Period.

Producers: Walt Whitman Jr. and Aaron W. Lindsey
CGI Records

reviewed by Stan North

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