Various Artists

Gospel Greats, Vol. 6: Praise and Worship

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This collection of top performances from the Verity catalog is an exciting way to become acquainted with some of the most powerful and important gospel music of the early '00s. The series includes Gospel Greats Live, and volumes specifically devoted to men and women of the genre, but this one mixes and matches top studio performances from the label's last four years. The two opening tracks, "Let the Praise Begin" (by Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ) and "Thank You Lord (He Did It All)" (by the New Life Community Choir) are all about knee-slapping anthemic energy, but in some ways the message comes across even more dramatically on a slow-building bluesy piece like "Holy Thou Art God" by Richard Smallwood with Vision; the tune builds to a glowing crescendo, as if seducing your heart slowly before revealing the full experience. "Draw Me Nearer," by Commissioned, is produced by Fred Hammon, and is reminiscent of Boyz II Men. Breakout stars Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Yolanda Adams are also well-represented. All of the amazing diversity is wrapped up in the end by another knee-slapper called "It's Time to Praise the Lord" by the Victory in Praise Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir.

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