Worship In His Presence
Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville was the location for the recording of this stellar collection of new interpretations of familiar songs from some of Gospel’s finest praise and worship artists and backed by the church’s mass choir.Producers: Paul Wright III, Frederick L. Vaughn, Ralph Lofton
album release date: July, 2001
While this is certainly a live recording, the overall vibe here runs more along the lines of a compilation project.
Eleven song tracks in total, the album starts with sizzle and smoke as Ann McCrary takes lead on the Ricky Grundy/Patrick Henderson burner, “Lift The Name of Jesus”.
Judith Christie-McCallister follows in like style with two songs, including the bouncy call and response “High Praise” with its simple and powerful lyrics.
From high energy to slow simmer, Duawne Starling tones things way down with his medley interpretation where he deftly combines Twila Paris’ gorgeous “Lamb of God” (a today-classic that Donnie McClurkin brought to the attention of Gospel enthusiasts back in 1992) with Thomas Whitfield’s “Just As I Am”. Lyrically and musically, the songs are a perfect fit.
Other softer cuts abound, with Lisa Shipman’s vocal lead on “Lord Be Praised” being especially memorable, and Michael O’Brien taking a new composition (from William Murphy III and Shannon Davis) into a special place of worship. Ralph Lofton’s organ swirlings solidify the song.
Maurette Brown-Clark is always welcome, and she appears here on two cuts. On “Just Want To Praise You” she delivers from-the-heart alto praise that she makes personal to Jesus Christ amidst the soft groove and choir support.
Also on this set from Harborwood is the album-closing hand-clapper that mingles Edwin Hawkins’ “Worship The Lord” with Grundy’s “I Call Him Up” as Mark Freeman handles vocals and worship leading.
You can never have enough praise and worship; be prepared to revel in this collection for some time.
reviewed by Stan North —
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