Wild and crazy, African rhythm-driven gospel/folk done a cappella style. Linda Tillery & Cultural Heritage Choir's live performances have always had a vitality that exceeds the energy of their many studio recordings. Although these performances were recorded live at various folk festivals in Calgary, Edmonton, and other locales, this is more than just a typical concert recording; it's an international, intergenerational, cross-genre, cross-cultural event with highlights of R&B and world music of the past and present. Featuring appearances by R&B and folk greats Richie Havens and Wilson Pickett, plus new artists like Kelley Joe Phelps, Eric Bibb, and Laura Love, this performance brings together the best and brightest world stars from Australia, Senegal, and Venezuela. The Choir draws material from various unique sources, including Negro spirituals ("Wayfaring Stranger"), Bobby McFerrin (the throbbing vocal percussion jam "I'm Angry"), and James Brown (a party medley called "Jaime Moreno's Jam" featuring African-flavored approaches to his best-loved tunes). Most of the tunes are done with voices creating all the lead melody and rhythmic lines, but Wilson Pickett's rich bluesy performance of "Don't Let Nobody Drag Yo' Spirit Down" features Eric Bibb's swampy acoustic guitar accompaniment. Emma Jean does a great Aretha Franklin-flavored lead vocal on the feisty and spiritual "Stand Tall and Be Happy," while wailing vocalist Laura Love is very much in the Natalie Merchant vein. This business is irresistible.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran