New Life Community Choir with John P. Kee
VIDEO: Strength

Long form Gospel videos used to be the exception to the rule. Not any more, as more and more of these products are being demanded by gospel heads. And based on recent sales figures, they certainly seem to be popular.

The latest video offering from John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir (based on the Strength album) is a case in point. After only four weeks on the market, it sat at the number 13 position on Billboard's video sales charts. And that's overall video sales, not just gospel. But even if I didn't see these numbers, after watching the nearly 105 minute production, I would certainly classify Strength Video this video as a success. Nothing except the live concert beats a combo audio/visual punch, and especially where John P. Kee and his crowd are concerned.

This video offers stunning visual shots of the jamming New Life band with the surprisingly small New Life Community Choir, performing before a huge crowd at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta. Although the sound quality of this project is spotty in places, and sometimes I found myself wishing that the choir sound came through more strongly (miking or overdubbing problems perhaps?), I overlooked that, since the cameramen successfully transported me straight into a front seat position and beyond.

And it got crazy when special guest Dorinda Clark-Cole got in front of the choir on the song "Strength" and in rousing duet with John P. Kee on "We Made It". It's always loads more fun when a group mixes up the video presentation from that heard on CD. This is what happens with "Mighty God", which is tagged onto a New Life version of "Outstanding".

In another twist, Broderick Rice makes a guest appearance and switches his crowd-pleasing James Cleveland impression from "I Bow Out" (as heard on the CD) to "Lord Help Me To Hold Out". In fact, "I Bow Out" is one of the few CD cuts not included in this video project. Other memorable moments occurred during the "Eastside/Westside" segment, where Curtis (Red Robert) Caldwell and Silent T each grab a mike and throw down hiphop stylings. Especially Silent T.

Then there's those horns. The large brass band add blaring flavor throughout the taping, excelling especially when invited to center stage for "Thank You Lord (He Did It All)".

I can't do anything but recommend this one.

Video Director: Ossie Mills
video release date: 1998
Verity Records

reviewed by Stan North

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