Deitrick Haddon - Together in Worship (2007)

Deitrick Haddon
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Deitrick Haddon's previous CD's wouldn't be classified as praise and worship records. That's not to say those albums didn't include praise music. Haddon's work is certainly energetic and many of his songs fuse hip hop influenced R&B with gospel in a way that is very attractive to the young people the artist is trying to reach. However, recordings like 7 Days and Crossroads were both studio albums that featured a variety of gospel genres. For example, 7 Days featured the "Heaven Knows," a bluesy number in which Haddon warns listeners that God sees the wrong the people do, and "Clap Your Hands," a tune steeped in hip hop beats.

Deitrick Haddon's previous CD's wouldn't be classified as praise and worship records. That's not to say those albums didn't include praise music. Haddon's work is certainly energetic and many of his songs fuse hip hop influenced R&B with gospel in a way that is very attractive to the young people the artist is trying to reach. However, recordings like 7 Days and Crossroads were both studio albums that featured a variety of gospel genres. For example, 7 Days featured the "Heaven Knows," a bluesy number in which Haddon warns listeners that God sees the wrong the people do, and "Clap Your Hands," a tune steeped in hip hop beats.

Deitrick Haddon reunites with his group Voices in Unity's for his latest project, Together in Worship, a live album recorded in Florida. One of the weaknesses with live albums generally  is that they rarely convey the connection between audience and performer and how the two groups play off and energize each other. You need visuals to convey that.  However, gospel music is the one genre in which live recordings can be effective as a stand-alone work. That's because gospel music is an organically participatory musical form by nature. Many of the songs employ call and response and catchy choruses that literally invite the audience to sing along.

Besides, church music is supposed to be performed live. So, over the last few years, live gospel albums often become praise and worship recordings. Together in Worship follows that trend. In a way, it's inaccurate to call this a Deitrick Haddon CD because most of the songs feature guests. And Haddon didn't just decide to put the microphone in the hands of a few of his background singer. He shared the stage with gospel music luminaries like Darwin Hobbs and Shirley Murdock. Television evangelist Paula White makes an appearance as well.

Having so many well-known voices on Together in Worship is a good idea for commercial and artistic reasons. Together in Worship will attract interest from fans of the guest artists and the diversity of voices will allow the album to stand out in what has become an increasingly crowded praise and worship market.  That formula works on songs like "Send a Revival," which begins with White ministering to the audience. The music builds while White speaks with a trumpet being played in Latin style with keyboards building the drama before the choir begins singing. Shirley Murdock's contribution, "My Father's House," is another standout tune. Murdock's trademark vocals blend well with a funky beat that is punctuated with horns and a punchy chorus. "I was there/When he said to me/Let us go/To my Father's house."

The balance of the CD brings the energy, strong vocals and catchy beats that have made praise and worship music the rage in churches around the nation. However, people who want more variety might find themselves skipping over many of the tracks to find the ones that really hold their interest.

By Howard Dukes

 
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