Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Various Artists: Top 25 Gospel Songs - 2013 Edition

Various Artists
Top 25 Gospel Songs – 2013 Edition
Maranatha Music/EMI Music CMG Distribution

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog

If it were not for a couple of traditional-leaning selections, Maranatha Music’s Top 25 Gospel Songs2013 Edition could easily be titled Top 25 Praise and Worship Songs – 2013 Edition.

Whether or not P&W is your cup of tea, there’s no denying that the amalgam of gospel and CCM has, along with smooth contemporary gospel, claimed a significant space on the gospel charts.  Top 25 Gospel Songs highlights this reality by combining praise-centric releases from established gospel stars with those of emerging indie artists. 

Recognized stars represented on the two-disc collection include Martha Munizzi, whose celebratory “Make It Loud” opens Disc One.  Shekinah Glory Ministry (“Revival”), Isaac Carree (“I Worship You”) and VaShawn Mitchell (“You Reign”) are among the other familiar figures, as is William McDowell, whose enormous P&W hit, “I Give Myself Away” is also included.

Among the emerging artists are Jackiem Joyner, who wails sax on an instrumental version of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile.”  The project also introduces the listener to some less familiar names, such as Avery Sunshine, Tim Miner, Jamie Jones, and Bryan Popin, whose encouraging “Alright” has the right amount of bluesy inflection.

Standout tracks include Anita Wilson’s rich and prayerful “More of You,” from her national debut CD Worship Soul; and Jonathan Butler’s fine contemporary ballad, “I Stand On Your Word.”  For those who only know Tamela Mann for “Take Me to the King” are treated to “Here I Am,” a passionately sung ballad from her Best Days album.

The exceptions to the P&W/contemporary rule on the collection are Dottie Peoples’ churchy “I Got This,” and the Lee Boys’ “Praise You," which features a feisty duel between electric guitars and sacred steel.

Percy Bady has done an admirable job compiling an enjoyable set that flows well and represents the mainstream P&W and contemporary sounds that appeal to a multicultural churchgoing audience.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “More of You,” “I Stand On Your Word.”

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