Apostle Thomas Isaiah Butler
A Special Kind of Love

With a list of accomplishments that ranges from appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show to sharing the stage with Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Tito Puente and others, and with his start at the age of 11 as a vocalist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, to say that Apostle Dr. Thomas Isaiah Butler has seen his fair share would be an understatement. Singer, author, musician, actor and playwright, Butler is a renaissance man.

In full time ministry since 1985, Butler founded The Word of Truth Temple of Jesus Christ and hasnít looked back since.

A Special Kind of Love CDHis latest venture, the Sound of Gospel release A Special Kind of Love, stands apart from the CD crowd with its intriguing combo of latin rhythms, 70ís-style flowing vibes and a certain refined vocal soulfulness from Butler and friends that recalls another age, yet remains fresh at the same time.

Butler is a strong percussive force behind the albumís distinctive sound, handling the latin percussion and horns. Also contributing to the project instrumentally is Phil J. Hale, whose energetic keys and Hammond B3 work permeates throughout.

"Saved" is representative of the material on this Detroit project. Butler delivers clear testimony of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over layers of luxuriant strings, demanding congas and latin acoustic percussion, Hammond B3 and vibey backing vocals grooving on in their own world.

On "Bless Our Lord Jesus", things begin with lulled, guitar-backdropped vocals before percussion kicks in with a funky bassline. Butler then proceeds to move into bilingual territory with chant lyrics that go 'ingozi aluwa issa'.

Likewise, "Chike Anyabwele" brings two languages into the mix and rests on percussive beds, abundant piano fills and the occasional foray into shrilling tribal ad lib vocal expression. The words are also sung in English — "Power of God Hath Unchained Me".

Butler brings in his wife, Mamah Kim Butler on vocals for "Very Best I Can". Butta-smooth with clear phrasing, she extols the highest praise with some upper register runs. Also memorable is "Are You Happy Happy" with its nicely grooved lines and pleasing melody.

By the time this project closes with a steamy five-minute instrumental jam, youíre realizing the extent of the diversity in Gospel music available in this day. Innovative and creative, A Special Kind of Love is nothing like youíve got in your collection, and thatís a good thing!

Producer: Thomas Butler
album release date: January 2001
Sound of Gospel

ó reviewed by Stan North ó

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