The Gospel music market is not short of compilations, ‘Gotta Have Gospel’ and ‘WOW Gospel’ are both very well established, so this offering needed to come with something different to be worthy of any type of success.
The first question I asked myself was, ‘Does this collection really live up to its name?’ Well… not with the inclusion of Shackles, Mary Mary’s hit of 5 years ago! What’s new about that! But to be fair, I have to say that SONY BMG and Integrity put in a decent effort and I commend their attempt at highlighting the more progressive side of the genre.
Kiki Sheard’s ‘You Don’t Know’, Trin-I-Tee 5:7’s ‘Holla’ and Martha Munizzi’s ‘Glorious’ have remained firm favourites over the past couple of years. There are some of the biggest current hits included like Mary Mary’s ‘Believer’, Israel’s ‘Not Forgotten’ and not to mention the huge Kirk Franklin dance-floor filler, ‘Looking For You’.
The most exciting thing about this compilation is the excellent selection of new previously unreleased material from the US and the UK. (Yes, I did say the UK!). There is a new piano led ‘Darkchild produced dance track from Virtue. The UK offers up an intimate acoustic neo-soul ballad Four Kornerz, lyrically brilliant slow jam from Nu Life, and an infectious new groover from Raymond and Co.
There’s even more UK bashment style pressure from Shadrach, but my favourite by far has to be Ekklesia’s foot stomping R’n’B anthem ‘Blessed’.
The overall buzz about this album is one of optimism, and we as consumers in the UK should support it and prove that we have an emerging and vibrant scene here.