Various Artists
Spirit Rising, Vol. 1 & 2

Another compilation series arises, this one coming from the Music World Gospel people.

The set is titled Spirit Rising, and is aimed toward a market that may not necessarily be familiar with the latest and the greatest in Gospel. Featuring a diverse CDoffering of interesting material from a wide array of artists, the fledgling record label has long range plans for the series, looking toward future volumes.

Vol. 1 is subtitled Praise & Worship, and true to name brings together praise material with a mostly uptempo twist.

Everyone knows Mahalia Jackson, and her live recording of the familiar "How I Got Over" is on the CD. Names such as The Mighty Clouds of Joy (with Joe Ligon singing their hit "I've Been In the Storm Too Long") and Bishop T. D. Jakes with "I Surrender All" will also ring bells.

But also in the mix are recent songs from Joe Pace & The Colorado Mass Choir ("Glad About It" featuring LaShun Pace) and Israel & New Breed with the kicking rouser "Who Is Like The Lord". Damon Little and Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson add a touch of accessible quartet stylings to the set.

Newcomer Darrell Petties & SIP make his industry bow with "True Love", and is worth a serious listen. Softly flowing praise endowed with soul is the hallmark of this young Memphis-based singer/songwriter.

Other contributions to Vol. 1 come from Deneice Williams, Alvin Slaughter, Alicia Williams, Bishop Clarence McClendon and Bishop Andrew Merritt, making Spirit Rising Vol. 1 Praise & Worship a vast survey.

CDBy the inclusion of brand new music from artists such as Ramiyah and Dawkins and Dawkins and HR Crump, Spirit Rising Vol. 2 Inspirational will cause heads to snap to attention.

Rhythm 'n praise innovators Dawkins and Dawkins step out with their first song in a long while. "Dance" is, of course, a jam, and lays out the numerous ways that God blesses. Eric and Anson's close harmony starts the cut, which flows with a rhthmic, percussive phatness. Tony Shepperd mixes the piece.

Music World Gospel artist and NY-native HR Crump is not only featured in multiple song credits for other artists (he co-wrote the Michelle Williams song "Everything" and also "He Cares" performed by Men of Standard), he is also one of the featured singers on the album. "The Word" is a prelude to his upcoming solo album with the label, and whets the appetite for more, with an acoustic gem.

Ramiyah drops two cuts. With PAJAM leaning heavily on the production and with J.Moss on backing vocals, the youthful foursome deliver their expected bounce jams with "I Told" and "Turn It Out", in advance of their solo debut later in 2003.

Darrell Petties & SIP return with a groovy and harmony-infused "A New Thang", while Michael Speaks' "Praise Your Problems Away" is given a comeback. Tommy Sims' gorgeous duet with Marvin Winans on "Peace & Love" should cause everyone to search for Sims' undervalued solo project from 2000.

Notable voices such as Kelly Price with the balladic "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow" from her Mirror, Mirror project, and Out of Eden with the bouncy "Now I Sing" from their latest CD are also present.

Earth Wind & Fire even get into the picture, with a remix of their "Burning Bush". It's called the "Shout From the Mountain Top Remix", featuring Alan Hewitt (drums), Michael Robinson (keyboards) and Andrew Gouche (bass) adding extra spice.

Producers: Various
album release date: March 4, 2003
Music World Gospel / Integrity Gospel

— review by Stan North

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