2009 – Yes, No, Maybe? (Part 2)Published by Torrence Glenn on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm.
Sup folks, gonna jump right into it, you already know what this is. 2009’s Yes, No, Maybe? Part 2. If you missed Part 1, click here! NOTE: I realized after I posted part 1 that I somehow left out 3 albums from my “Yes” category yesterday so th is one may be a tad bit long, but I trust you’ll stick with me….RIIIIIIGHT?
So, Part Deux starts NOW..
George Huff – THE SINGING George does on this CD makes absolutely no sense at all. I know some of you may have been turned off by his first CD “Miracles”which although it was “ok,” didn’t allow George to really sing like you know he could. There were some good moments on Miracles but everytime I listened t o it, I kept thinking to myself “If they don’t let this churchboy out, I’m gonna scream.” Well ladies and gentlemen, on this his self-titled follow up, he absolutely did. The CD is a kind of perfect mix of urban/contemporary (he’s not NEARLY as old you think…) and traditional gospel. If you like squalling, there is some. If you like runs, there’s some of that too. If you like pure simple vocals, that’s there for you also! The production is on point and with features by Tasha Collins (Sunday Best Season 1 alum) and Coko (skyprano of LIFE), you can’t go wrong with this one. I’m gonna act like you already have it, because if you don’t we have BEEF!
Smokie Norful – Live – At first, this CD almost found it’s way into the maybe category, because at first listen, it didn’t hit me. It just kind of was. Sometimes when an artist you have expectations from drops a new CD, you have to CONSCIOUSLY freshen up your ears. Although Smokie sings his neck off, I thought I had heard everything I could from him by this point. Runs? Check. Piano cry song? Check. And so forth and so on. And truthfully, yeah, those songs are on here, but this project really is a fresh version of the style we know him for. “Justified” and “Dear God” quickly became life anthems for me after I put away my “is this album gonna be any different” issues away. Smokie did it and I don’t know if he used a different set of singers than he normally does, but those background vocals were Sang-Tang-A-Langing!
Brian Courtney Wilson – Just Love – I don’t know how many times I’m going to apologize for this, but I think this will be the very last time, I have paid my penance, lol. But as many as you probably know, I wrote this CD off without even listening to it which truthfully is rather FOOLISH. I’m a marketing guy and we sometimes put a lot of emphasis on image. But I’m also a music man and I should know better, but even sometimes the industry Torrence take over. So I saw the album cover and immediately thought Brian was a cornball and was going to sing me to a boring cave. One day something said put it on and I did and the rest is history I guess. My instincts were right to think that the project would be “smooth” but boring it was not and Brian’s collection of “soulful worship” songs is a perfect backdrop during those moments I don’t want to be screamed at by an artist. The highest *whoosh* moment is on “Already Here” which gets me right where I need to be EVERYTIME!
Coko – The Winner In Me – *slain*…ok, I’m back. But seriously, this for me was one of the best CD’s of 2009. A lot of fuss has been made about R&B singers coming over to gospel and such. A lot of times, I see the arguments on both sides and just kind of stay out of it, but truthfully, I only dislike it when you come over and DON’T HAVE THE GOODS. Music is music and if a person loves God enough to want to sing to and about him, and can sing it the way it needs to be sung I say “go head.” Coko fits the bill and this particular project was quite dope to me. “May Be My Last Time” rocks hard and is my absolute favorite. (Real music heads can appreciate the turnarounds on those verses!!!) Her duet with Israel Houghton on “Joy Of The Lord” is tight and he’s SANGING on that thing. Maybe Coko’s producers should work with him next time… Sleep on this project if you choose, but it’s as tight as contemporary gospel can get and for my churchy folks, it’s OILY!
Mali Music – The 2econd Coming – I don’t know what needs to be done for folks to get a clue, but this dude IS the future of gospel music. Probably already a little too ahead of his time for his own good, Mali Music’s new CD is absolutely ridiculous and I mean that in the best possible way. Mali is one of the few gospel singers on the very short list (Tonex, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, and a few others) who fall into the category of artists who can sing ANYTHING and I think that scares some folks. We’re going to look back at this project and feel absolutely foolish that it wasn’t one of the biggest releases of it’s time and that he didn’t get the industry support he deserved. I promise you this!
Melinda Watts – People Get Ready – So I didn’t really watch Gospel Dream like that because it was a little too all over the place and yeah, whatever, I just didn’t. So I remembered who she was but couldn’t really tell you one way or the other how she did on the show, so when I got her CD I had fresh ears but still was a little skeptical. Why? Because like we’ve already discussed, I’m a little hard on CCM, ha! Melinda however, stood out and although she has some CCM sensibilities, the girl REALLY can sing on the gospel side of things and the CD feels really good. She also has a very “sincere” way of singing that just speaks to me. I would have never thought I’d be sung under the table by an artist like her, but there you have it, she won me over. “Purpose Driven Life” and the remake of the old choir standby “Available To You” (duet with J. Moss) took me straight in. Don’t sleep on this project because of what you think you’re gonna get. You will be surprised.
J. Moss – Just James – Talk about a comeback. It seems the last year or so was a rough one for artists with personal and public setbacks, especially in the area of marriages. And what has made it so frustrating is that many of the artists dealing with these issues have been a little “funky” about it and frankly, it shows in their music. J. Moss on the other hand was able to turn his situation into a CD that was sincere without being annoyingly apologetic. J. Moss sings you into the 14th heaven on this one and my only “issue” was that I wanted a little more. J., you coulda sang me at least 4 more songs man!!! Ha! “Holy One” is my lay it on the floor soundtrack.
Sheri Jones-Moffett – Renewed – Here’s another project that on first listen didn’t make me go crazy like I wanted it to. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was just that I had unfair expectations for the musical direction I THOUGHT she should have gone for her project. When we do this, I call it musical witchcraft. We want an artist to do what we want them to and try to impose our will on them like some voodoo doll. I, in fact, was one of those church people I referred to in my interview with her that had a hard time accepting this contemporary Sheri. Well, I rose to tell ya that the CD grew on meeeeeee! “I Feel Your Spirit” gives me everything I need and “Best Life?” *whoosh* Ok I’m back….
Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston – Resting On His Promise – Let’s be honest, good choir music on a national level is kind of suffering a bit. I attended this recording in the spring and was actually a little concerned that after post production, editing, etc. that the CD experience wouldn’t have the same “umph” as the live recording and folks wouldn’t get it. Listen here, I used to maintain that Youthful Praise’s first CD would always be my favorite and now this one is competing for that spot. Youthful Praise sings til the walls come tumbling down! It’s raw without being sloppy, contemporary without feeling fake. (There’s nothing I can’t stand more than a choir trying to sing like an R&B/hip-hop group.) “Great Expectation” is my FAVORITE on this one, followed by “Powerful God.” (get your carpets ready. *whoosh* on 100!) Somebody’s got to take choir music forward and JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise are doing it!
Whew. Ok, now the No! category.
Bishop Eddie Long & Friends – The Kingdom Volume 1 – What in THEE world? This is one of those CD’s where you listen to it and go “somebody had some extra money they needed to get rid of so why not put out a record.” The project felt a bit thrown together and even the featured artists who are some of my fav’s I think participated as favors. I’m convinced Mary Mary and Dorinda Clark-Cole sent in some vocal references they recorded on their cell phones just to be nice. And I don’t have much to say about the featured group, the GW’s. I mean…. The whole thing just felt… thrown together. I think I appreciate and understand the sincere intent behind it. As I understand it, some dude who used to be a mainstream record executive got saved and decided he wanted to “give back” or something by working with Bishop Long to put out a gospel project or something like that. Not so much…
The Brown Sisters – Live In Chicago – this is gonna be short. I just never got around to listening to it really, but I love girl groups so didn’t want to leave ‘em out. Not much else to say…. (ha! Shady right?)
Vickie Winans – How I Got Over – I tend to like Vickie Winans and this CD hasn’t grabbed me just yet. The first few times I listened it just seemed a little all over the place. I find it interesting that as she has gotten older, she tries to embrace younger styles of music and sometimes it works (“Shake Yourself Loose”) and other times it feels a little forced (“Swoop”) but I can’t count her out just yet. I gotta give this one a little more time. Plus, I love the title track and her nephew Tim Bowman GETS IT IN on that scat breakdown. I wonder if he can sing actual verses. Hope to hear more from him.
Lisa Page-Brooks – Strong – Yet another artist I’m a groupie for! Baddest alto in THEE land and queen of the adlib. (Yeah, some of y’all have given that title to some other(s) and I’m gonna need y’all to reconsider. I know she got some funny anecdotes and all, but yeah, those adlibs could use a refresh…) I also have to keep listening to this one. Lisa’s voice makes this project a must have, but I think I’m just greedy and secretly want a live project!
Canton Jones – Kingdom Business Part featuring the Cajo Family – so I’m a little late on the Canton Jones movement. (I have a fun interview I did with him coming in the next week or so.) Over the years I had only heard a few songs and I just I wasn’t listening very well, but some friends in the industry and twitterville got me right together and I did my homework. Dude is a great and awesome vocalist, so I was excited to listen to this project. Well, I was a tad bit disappointed, mainly because I then had to realize that this cd wasn’t really all about him and featured artists in his camp/label. Holy Hip Hop usually has to grow on me which a lot of this CD is, so I’m going to do just that and let it grow on me.
Ok, sorry this one was so long, but I wanted to keep it down to 3 parts so had to go a little long on this one. Check back Monday for the final installation of 2009’s Yes, No, and Maybe…
What ya think?