Well...this entire project ROCKS! I love the music and I get to keep my friends! Twenty-eight songs and a bonus DVD with 10 music videos makes this my favorite collection of the year! Too much to review (without writing a whole book), so here are some of my favorite highlights.
Gotta Have Gospel! 6 starts off with Pastor John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir. This is vintage John P Kee. And, as far as I'm concerned John P Kee can do no wrong, especially when he gets into the vamp ( he is the king of the vamp) of I'VE GOT A RIGHT NOW PRAISE. I got so pumped up listening to this song, I almost got a speeding ticket.
One of the outstanding things about this CD is that it isn't just a recording, it's a journey. It takes you from place to place and level to level.
An example is Fred Hammond and his crew singing HE'LL DO IT. Oh my goodness, this song is a killer. The groove on this is slamming! I love how Fred takes a groove and marries it to a meaningful lyric. Nothing gets lost. Nobody does it better! (I'm a little mad at Fred because that song has my name all over it. It should have been on my CD!) I'll let Fred go this time.
When you get to Tramaine Hawkins singing, I NEVER LOST MY PRAISE, the beginning sounded as though it was going to be just another good gospel song. Well by the time Tramaine got finished, I could barely drive my car! I was just blown away by the heartfelt worship and praise. Newsflash! I (along with thousands of other young guys) had a secret crush on Tramaine back in the day when every choir was singing GOIN' UP YONDER. We're all grown up and married now, but LIKE THEY SAY, confession is good for the soul.
What is so significant is her transparency. Tramaine gave such powerful testimony on this cut in word and song. Through all the years, she has not lost an ounce of great vocal ability, and she is by far one of the very best in all of gospel music.
I RECOMMEND JESUS was the Canton Spirituals' offering. If my Mama and Daddy were alive, they would have that song on repeat. (If they could find the repeat button, may they rest in peace!) If you love Quartet music, they do not disappoint. I remember listening to the Soul Stirrers and the Highway QC's back in the day. I loved choirs and wasn't too big on Quartets. I believed the only good music was choir music. But the Canton Spirituals are making a believer out of me.
The last song on side One is LET'S GIVE HIM PRAISE by Bishop Jakes and the Potter's House Mass Choir. When I read the title, I thought, "ok...this is just going to be like a million of other songs I've heard before." Well the song kicks off with a declaration that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy. I don't know whether it is the declaration or that the scripture is one of my favorites, but it just nailed my spirit. Love this song. The drive says "not my will but thine be done." If you just listen to this with your spirit and not just your ears, I promise, God will speak to you.
On side Two, GOOD IN THE HOOD is fun and anointed (hmm...can God use fun? LOL) I love Tye Tribbet! I'm his number one fan.
On the last cut on side 2, the 7 Sons of Soul deliver on CLAP YOUR HANDS. Who do they think they are trying to sing with that traditional sound from my parents' day? Well...they nailed it!
The bonus DVD has behind-the-scenes footage, song stories, and live concert footage. I particularly love that. You know what's funny? Over the years, there have been quite a few times when I was not a fan of a particular artist's music. After experiencing them in a live setting or getting to know their back story, I became a fan.
There are some real special moments here. In particular, check out my friends Israel and New Breed. Israel is leading the charge in cross-cultural, cross-generational, inter-denominational worship. He has his own unique musical fingerprint that reflects his life story and his love for God.
Also, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (my alma mater), singing Hillsong's WORTHY IS THE LAMB will bring you right into the presence of God. It's pure worship. I love great artistry. But every artist knows (or should know) that when it comes to pure and true worship music, the focus is not on the artist, a slamming bass line, or a slick video. This is a 240-voice, multi-ethnic choir amidst a sea of people reverently joining with the angels singing, WORTHY IS THE LAMB. One word comes to mind...brokenness.
Although side One is my favorite, the entire CD is great. Truly, Gotta Have Gospel! 6 has delivered a "best of" that is inspiring, fun and reflects the diversity of style and sound that is sometimes missing in Gospel music.