We all have our favorite artists we love to listen to depending on our moods and circumstances. Each week I will be sharing with you the music that I am currently listening to and my thoughts about the particular recording and artist. Please note: My listening tastes cross many genres of music not just Christian & gospel. Music with messages that are diametrically opposed to the Christian faith will never be a part of my play list (so don't expect to find very recent selections listed here). If you have access to these recordings, take a listen and leave your thoughts and comments below.
April 29 - May 5, 2019 The Finest Hour (2000) Babbie Mason Word Entertainment Here is one of CCM's greatest female vocalists. Babbie knows how to deliver a song with a message that is timeless. This particular project is a retrospective of her gospel music career featuring all of her most relevant hit songs. Most of the great songs are here such as "Standing In The Gap", "Stop By The Church", "Love Is The More Excellent Way", as well as my personal all-time favorite "Each One Reach One". Babbie Mason has certainly not received the accolades and attention she deserves (which probably means the heavenly reward will be great). Babbie is not a gospel belter and most likely would not win the "Sunday's Best" gospel singer contest. She is most an anointed psalmist who delivers a song with clarity and impeccable vocal control. Her music will have your hands clapping and your heart moved with the joy of the Lord.
April 21 - 28, 2019 Sky's The Limit (1971) The Temptations Motown Record Corporation I simply love the Temptations. From my early childhood up into adulthood where I sang "My Girl" on stage with them back in 1990, the Temps were and still are one of my favorite vocal groups. Most of their early recordings have that old Doo Wop / Gospel Quartet harmony vocals and strong leads from every member of the group. I have never heard a bad recorded performance by the original line up from the 60s and 70s. There may have been a few not so flattering songs but not because of the Temps' performance. These gentlemen were spot on every tune and this album project is no exception. It is the last album featuring original Tempts members Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks (Kendricks did return as a guest performer on the Tempts "Reunion" album in the 80s). And as if a final homage to his time with the group, Kendricks is the featured lead on most of the songs. The top stand outs on this album is of course the timeless "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" and "Smiling Faces Sometimes". This is a more subdued Temptations recording. If you are looking for something to put on and just relax, this is the one.
April 14 - 20, 2019 Crusade (1993) Crusade Warner Brothers Records This is one of the Contemporary Christian / Gospel groups which I am very sorrowful did not (to my knowledge) have a follow up project. This Jazz-R&B infused worship album in my opinion is one of the finest ever produced. The musical performances are simply top-notched and the anointing is present throughout the entire project especially on "I Praise Your Name", "The Prayer" and "Lamb of God". The attention to every detail rhythmically, melodically and lyrically created a wonderful sweet sounding offering to the One True and Living God. This is a beautiful listening experience from beginning to end. No doubt about it, this group Crusade were the real deal in terms of why they were creating gospel music. Producer Mano Hanes and writer Chanese Jackson produced a "musical experience" that does not center on the instrumental and vocal and abilities of any individual person. Far too many gospel albums are centered around the greatness of the artist as opposed to the greatness of the God of the artist. This musical experience however produces a platform where the listener can enter into heartfelt prayer and communion with God the Father. This was (and still to this day) my driving music to get my day going. It's not your typical run of the mill gospel CD with the same cookie cutter sound most listeners are accustomed to hearing and to that I say, "Thank God!" If you haven't heard this CD, check it out on You Tube. If you like I still have the CD in your collection, pull it out and take another listen. It just gets better with age.
April 7-12, 2019 Dinah Jams (1954) Dinah Washington EmArcy Records MG 36000 Currently on the playlist is this classic jazz album by the great Dinah Washington. Where else can you hear three of jazz's iconic trumpet players (Clifford Brown, Maynard Ferguson and Clark Terry) not to mention the great Max Roach on drums all in the same ensemble. Dinah's vocal fluency and amazing control is at top form and her emotional delivery indicates that she is having the time of her life during this live session. I discovered this album in my grandfather's collection many years ago but could not totally appreciate it until recently. It's an absolute masterpiece for classic jazz lovers and fans.