Hezekiah Walker - The Essential Hezekiah Walker (2007)

Hezekiah Walker
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The responsible party saddled with the task of gathering twenty-six songs for The Essential Hezekiah Walker compilation from the Grammy winner's extensive vault of gems is to be commended.  Hezekiah Walker, founder and Pastor of the renowned Brooklyn, NY based Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church has earned the love and respect of millions around the globe through his music ministry.  His ministry spans slightly over twenty years and the choirs of the church are among the most sought after for performance dates.  Having appeared before audiences where English was not the dominant language, the message of hope and faith through spirituality always transcended any barriers.
The responsible party saddled with the task of gathering twenty-six songs for The Essential Hezekiah Walker compilation from the Grammy winner's extensive vault of gems is to be commended.  Hezekiah Walker, founder and Pastor of the renowned Brooklyn, NY based Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church has earned the love and respect of millions around the globe through his music ministry.  His ministry spans slightly over twenty years and the choirs of the church are among the most sought after for performance dates.  Having appeared before audiences where English was not the dominant language, the message of hope and faith through spirituality always transcended any barriers. The Essential Hezekiah Walker is a reflection of both the very early days of the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir as well as its more recent triumphs. 

Disc one opens with a live recording of "Lord Send Your Spirit Down," and later blends into the powerful "I Need You To Survive" which grabbed hold of airwaves around the country as New York attempted to heal from the 9/11 tragedy.  That song made an effort to restore peace and trust in broken communities that were in need.  Even today, when this song is performed live and the lyrics challenge the audience to sing a message so heartfelt and touching, many are brought to tears by the song's end.  "I've Got A Reason" is a tribute to Olanda Draper, a young minister who made remarkable strides within the gospel community and unexpectedly passed away a few years back.  This tribute song has gained such popularity that it is performed in many black churches across the nation.  The message is one that all can relate to, with a melody so upbeat that you are forced to give in, rejoice and reflect on the simple pleasures of life.  The ultimate realization is that one must take the time out to turn to God and give praise for continuous blessings. 

In addition, disc one also includes "99 ½," which features Walker on lead vocals, and "Second Chance," which showcases the powerful command of Walker's ex-wife, Monique.  "How Much We Can Bear," a fan favorite, sung with no lead vocalist, displays the perfect three-part harmony.  This performance was recorded and videotaped live, and dominated BET's gospel television programs for years following.   

Disc two opens with the song "Lift Him Up," which boasts an infectious beat, very few lyrics and is the ultimate praise & worship anthem that commands the listener to give God the greatest praise.  Fortunately for supporters of the music of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Choir, songs like "Grateful" "I'll Fly Away" "Jesus Is My Help" "Power Belongs To God" are also included in this collection.  Hezekiah's vision to bridge the gap that has divided the secular and religious communities became even stronger with the club-friendly song "Let's Dance."   Featuring gospel hip hop artist B.B. Jay and former soul balladeer Dave Hollister along with The Love Fellowship Choir, this song prevailed as it crossed over into the world of mainstream radio, occupying the airwaves, record charts and many car stereos.

This collection is a perfect addition for those familiar with the music ministry of The Love Fellowship Choir and for those eager to explore the musical boundaries as gospel and secular effortlessly merge.  Recommended.

Detrel Howell

 
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