Recorded exactly 16 years after the group's 1989 debut, NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER captures the Mississippi Mass Choir at its prismatic best, still fresh, still lifting its collective voice up to the heavens with the same passion as when it was founded by late gospel legend Frank Williams (the Williams Brothers). It certainly doesn't hurt that the release is driven by another gospel leading light, producer Rev. Milton Biggham, who keeps the ceremonies exciting.
NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER opens, as it should, on a thunderous note, with the rapturous "One More Day." The choir smartly slows down the pace with a pair of buoyant ballads, "God Is Keeping Me" and "The Next Time, Will Be the First Time," brought to life by the thrilling voices of Marva McKinley and Beverly Crawford, respectively. Biggham reveals the church's connection with its patrons, as he playfully banters about storms with the congregation, predicting strife with a righteous beauty that matches the striking "I'm Still Here." NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER ends on an inspiring note, as the choir's spiritual advisor quietly tells a story of a near-death experience and a nurse's conversion with an inviting humor and warmth that sums up the charm and the power of the Mississippi Mass Choir.