WOW Gospel 2005

Various Artists
WOW Gospel 2005

WOW Gospel always kicks the year off with a reminder of the best of the previous 12 months. Somehow, reflecting on the blockbuster success of 2004 gives us renewed hope and excitement for the best to come in 2005.

CD With the 2005 set, Verity Records in cooperation with EMI, Word, associated Zomba labels and several others compile the latest and greatest to give us a compacted year in review.

This year divided among studio and live sets, WOW Gospel 2005 highlights the city of Washington, DC. The studio-focused Disc One features from Fred Hammond's "Celebrate (He Lives)" from the heralded Somethin' Bout Love project, to the PureSprings Gospel debut of Vicki Yohé with "Because of Who You Are". This worship ballad is penned by Martha Munizzi, who makes her own out-front appearance on the live Disc Two with "Glorious".

WOW Gospel 2005
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Other songs on this one include Israel and New Breed's "Again I Say Rejoice" (who had a banner year) and Bishop Paul S. Morton and Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship Mass Choir with "Let It Rain". Byron Cage's resounding "The Presence of the Lord", which was arguably the 2004 church anthem, couldn't be left out.

Traditional appearances include Keith Wonderboy Johnson's "Let Go and Let God" and Shirley Caesar and Greater Grace flashback to "I'm Going to Wait", both residing on the live disc.

Stellar smash winner Tonéx weighs in with radio favorite "Make Me Over", and newness shows up with Micah Stampley's fresh take on the CCM standard "Take My Life" for TD Jakes, and PAJAMís new male trio group 21:03 with the hot harmonies on "Sweet Spirit".

Smokie Norful appears both solo with "Can't Nobody" and also as the push behind Darrel Petties & SIP. With a forthcoming project on EMI Gospel, they render "Glory Hallelujah" and in so doing, manage to cover traditional and contemporary formats in one blow —doing both well.

With so many great projects in 2004, it's tough to narrow down the best to even two discs. And with what's around the corner, seems like next year's edition will be an even more arduous task!

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Producers: Various
album release date: January 25, 2005
Verity Records

— reviewed by Melanie Clark

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