US Shanachie CD, 2018
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1) Take It To The Cross
2) Look At Yourself (In The Mirror)
3) I Hear A Voice
4) You Blessed My Life
5) He Will Be There
6) What Would I Do
7) God Is So Amazing
8) God Will Show You The Way
9) Shout (A Celebration Of Life)
Will Downing has released over 20 albums in last 30 years - his debut solo set was from 1988 - and although
this is his first "gospel" or "inspirational" album, it is equally essential to his devoted fans as his previous albums in
recent years. Admittedly, some of the uptempo tunes are a bit too gospel-inclined to my personal taste, but the ballads represent
mostly the usual classy Will Downing repertoire we have learnt to hear from him. Probably the best thing on this release is that
he was certainly not feeling any commercial pressure to compromise neither in the musical setting or the overall style.
The album is produced by Will himself together with guitarist Randy Bowland, and the instrumentation is mainly professional studio
musicians playing real instruments: Al Turner is featured on bass, Pablo Bautista on percussion, Johnny "Smurf" Smith
on piano and organ, Mikey Logan Jr. on bass, and Audrey Wheeler-Downing, Cindy Mizelle, Danny Madden and James D-Train
Williams are singing background vocals. Unfortunately real horn section Good Times Horns is playing only on one track,
Look at Yourself. Only one track is fully programmed. Regina Belle duets with Will on the closing track Changed.
My favourite song this time is the Quality Time gem I Hear a Voice, one of Will's best new tunes in this decade. The inspirational song
was written by Brenda Joy Nelson together with Dewey Andre Cioffi. Most of the other songs are written by Will with Ronald
Bowland, and although I couldn't hear any instant new classic among these, the overall level is quite satisfactory throuhghout the set.
The opening track Take It to the Cross should keep the gospel folks happy, and the groovy, horn-laden Look at Yourself (In
the Mirror is another real winner. The intensive mid-tempo creeper What Would I Do is our next pick for our Quality Time
Cream Cuts chart.
No duds on display here, another safe buy for Will's fans, of which we have plenty of among our readers, I'm sure.