Hey Everyone!!! The latest album I am reviewing is from Gospel Legend: Donald Lawrence. As one of the greatest song writers for this generation, Lawrence's celebration album of 20 years in gospel music was definitely a great idea. With so many amazing songs penned by this legend, it was amazing to hear them all on one album. This album is definitely one you should have in your collection, especially if you are a fan.
The album starts off with "The Overture" which was great words of encouragement that incorporated lyrics and musical arrangements from some of Lawrence's greatest hits such as Encourage Yourself, Seasons and Bless Me. This was a great way to start off the album and a true testament to the amazing writing and excellent contribution Lawrence has made to the gospel community.
The second song on the album is the smash hit "The Gift". The vocal arrangements on this song are stellar. In today's musical scene, it is very rare to hear a gospel song that has stellar quality and vocality that sounds uniformed as if it is one voice. A lot of times, when the front man talks during the song, it slightly takes away from the song. But I can say Lawrence added to the song without taking the focus away from the song and the vocals. The message of this song is really important and encourages the saints to fully operate in their God given gifts. My favorite part of the song is the vocal breakdown. All three parts sound amazing and it is impossible to pick a section that sounded the best.
The next song was "Celebrate" sung by the gospel artists Ted and Sheri. Lawrence wrote this song for Ted and Sheri. From the first note sung to the back ground vocalists, everything sounded amazing. You can tell that the singers pulled out their good singing for this record. The runs Sheri did on this should have been illegal!!! Her vocals were stellar.
The fourth song on the album was "Best for Last." A great message that Lawrence is always able to deliver impeccably. The only thing I have against this song is that it was somewhat out of place, coming after such a high spirited song such as Celebrate, it was a bit confusing. Yolanda was an awesome addition to the song and really did a beautiful job on the verse. Tri-City showed that they still have the vocal ability they had years ago.
"Mighty God" has to be one of my favorite Coko gospel songs. I was so delighted to hear it on the album. Coko still has the amazing voice she had when she was on top of the R&B charts. When she starts to sing in that distinct range that she truly sings as her own, I was in a heavenly earth. My favorite part of the song is the vamp and Coko did not disappoint. I absolutely loved this song! It is definitely one I would have on repeat.
I think it is great that Donald broke out the urban gospel mold and incorporated contemporary Christian music star Natalie Grant on the song "God". Her voice sounds very beautiful and fits the essence of the song which describes the All Powerful God. The mixture of the musical chords, back grounds vocalists and Natalie Grant creates a perfect atmosphere for worship. After listening to it you can't help but go into a personal place of worship. It is a relationship based song that makes you reflect on the strength, love and power of God. The short exhortation given by Lawrence really pushes you to continue to reflect on the greatness and goodness of God.
The next song starts with an amazing solo by R&B Queen - Faith Evans. Her voice sounds amazing on the song "Say a Prayer for Me." It is a heartwarming song, that can bring tears to your eyes. It shows the love of Christ and how He is interceding to the Father on our behalf.
I love the intro of "The Blessing of Abraham" because it has a ccm vibe and feel to it which shows Lawrence's ability to remake a classic and bring a fresh breath of air. I love the call and response portion where Lawrence sings "The Blessing is On You." I love how he virtually recreated an amazing song.
"There Remaineth a Rest" is a scripture based song. A very simple, driven song that will remain with you long after you listen it. It's a song that I could have lived without, but it is a good song. One thing Lawrence said that stuck with me was "Labor to Rest."
I love the Vintage Detroit Mix of "Hebrew 4:9, Rest," it reminds me of the old school choir sound. It sounded like Twinkie on the organ, "The Queen of the Detroit choir sound." I am a choir junkie so that made my listening experience and it to me was better than the original. Definitely a song that would precede a praise break if you were in service. There's something about the organ blazing in the song that makes you feel something in your soul.
"Just Like the Air" is such a pretty song that makes you just want to close your eyes and sigh at the beauty of the music. The soloist Tobbi White-Darks sounds so stellar and fits the tone and theme of this song so well. The key change made her voice sound so great. My only slight problem with this song is that Lawrence should have allowed Tobbi to sing it by herself. His voice didn't fit the mode of the song and seemed somewhat out of place. Bringing in the back ground vocalists was amazing! The fact that you could hear them all take breaths at the same time was like pure amazement.
I love Lalah Hathoway's voice so the fact that Donald Lawrence got her to lead "Ultimate Relationship" was in itself amazing. This song was created with a neo soul/jazz feel to it which complimented her voice. Her runs were amazing and jaw dropping. It was a true testament of how great and special it is to enter the presence of God early in the morning.
I loved this song Lawrence wrote for the Clark Sisters "Instrument". It captures how we as saints are supposed to be instruments of praise to God. Donald's cousin Rudy Currence definitely did the song justice! I love the vamp that was created for this version, and I loved how he was able to change the original song yet still maintain the original flavor. The vocal range Rudy showed at the end of the song was totally amazing and wowing. People only dream of being able to sing like that, and to have the piano be able to follow him to a tee was so surprising.
"When the Saints Go to Worship" has to be one of the most legendary songs by Donald Lawrence. Kelly Price really poured her heart into this song and made you feel every word in it. Nothing can be compared to being led into the presence of God through music. At the vamp the mixture of the music and Kelly's voice set the tone for worship. This is definitely a song you don't want to listen to while driving because it can be the cause of an accident if you aren't extra careful.
"Hebrews 4:9 Reprise" showed how great the Tri City singers still are to this day.