Ricky Dillard & New G / Ricky Dillard / Ricky Dillard & New Generation

Keep Living

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Like many traditional gospel recordings, Keep Living, credited to Ricky Dillard & New G, combines its old-style trappings with some of the R&B flavor of the 1970s; in this case, Dillard's horn section sometimes shows the influence of Earth, Wind & Fire. The most unusual track, however, is the appropriately named "Strange," a Walter Hawkins composition, which has the vocalese jazz sound of the Manhattan Transfer. But much of the disc is standard-issue black gospel. The gruff-voiced Dillard frequently hands off vocal duties to one of several female vocalists, including Jermia Cannon, Karen Clark-Sheard, Renee Crutchins, and Lavarnga Hubbard. They lead the choir in a series of statements of faith, often to thrilling effect. But except for "Strange," there's nothing unusual about the performance.

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