Various Artists

Walt Baby Love's Gospel Tracks

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Anyone who thinks gospel music has lost its passion needs to hear this collection. There's no shortage of emotion in the tracks radio personality Walt "Baby" Love has assembled for this gospel compilation. In fact, if there's one criticism to be made, it's that it makes for a bit of a sensory overload, beginning with the live "In the Midst of It All," from Yolanda Adams, which goes so far over the top you wonder if she'll ever come down. That fever pitch of praise continues almost non-stop, with only Aaron Neville (still in wonderful voice after all these years) and the Blind Boys of Alabama offering welcome respite -- and proof that you don't have to be devout to be intense. Other highlights come from the Great Women of Gospel featuring CeCe Winans with "His Strength Is Perfect," which also doesn't send the VU meters into the red, and the bouncy Earth, Wind & Fire-inflected "So Glad He Loves Me" from Beverly Crawford. And the closer, "Pray for Me," by Moses Tyson Jr., offers a slower-paced comedown from the overwrought prayer -- and also proves that blues and gospel are simply two sides of the same coin, even after all these years. None of this is to demean the rest of the album -- it's full of fine music, a perfect example of modern gospel, and enjoyable, although maybe not in quite so large a dose.

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