Various Artists

Overcome! Vol. 2: Sanctified Soul and Holy House

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The second volume in the Overcome! series concentrates more on choirs than preachers, more on community-oriented deep gospel and praise music. It's no less funky or raw than the first, but it's wider rather than weirder. In fact, on the first track, as the Millenium Celebration Choir whips the crowd into a frenzy on "Breakthrough" with wide-open funk & roll, an electric guitar takes a three-minute Jimi Hendrix-style solo just to get things going, before Inez Andrews brings her Memphis soul roots home to roost on "Talk to Me." If the first volume's emphasis was on preaching, then this one is on praise and worship. This is where the real gospel music is made in America today, in the arena of praise music. These first two tracks demonstrate how firmly engaged with everyday life their God is. In "Breakthrough," the singer lists her money troubles, her children's troubles, and the difficult stresses in her life, and brings them all to the Lord's table, knowing that just by doing this, she can cope no matter what. Andrews speaks with the voice of Jesus when she sings, "Talk to Me." The two-way communication is enough to make her worship a God who provides every answer to every question no matter how insignificant. He wants to talk and the singer is grateful unto the heavens. The Rance Allen Group indulges in full James Brown/Maceo Parker slipped disk funk on "Hot Line to Jesus," complete with chopped backbeat and guttural "HUH!" as the groove washes over Allen. Like the first disk, there isn't a dud in the joint, but there are some truly psycho standouts like Aubrey Ghent's "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus." A preached intro gives way to an organ-driven choir accompanied by drums, bass, and pedal steels singing this well-known song in the spirit it was intended -- perhaps for the first time in modern recorded history. Clocking in at over eight minutes, if you aren't on your feet as this thing shakes your house, church, bar, shooting gallery, factory, car, or whatever, then you are truly dead, my friend. Both the volumes in this series are absolutely necessary for anybody interested in both modern and early gospel music, certainly. But the records in this series go so much deeper than that; they should be of interest to anybody who moans about the death of Memphis soul, Motown, true funk, or Delta blues. This music is all that and so much more.

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