Hey Everyone!!! Back in August 2013, the organization Pentecostal Assemblies of the World had a live recording at their 98th Convention. Produced by son to the organization, Jonathan Nelson, the album shows a versatility in music that we rarely see in choir music today. As a proud Apostolic Pentecostal, I fully embrace the organization marking history and showing the talent that has resulted from it. My favorite thing about this album is seeing all the amazing artists who have come out of this organization. So without further ado, I present my review of Pentecostal Assemblies of the World's Mass Choir's "Sound of Unity!"
The album begins with an introduction of the Presiding Bishop of PAW, Bishop Charles Ellis by Jonathan Nelson. Bishop Ellis then begins speaking about unity and the example that is set by those in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. He then expressed how he believes the next major move of God will take place when the saints become unified.
The first song from the album, "Sound of Unity" has a very high energy and electric feel to it. The song definitely captures your attention and draws you in. The production quality from the album is stellar and superb. I really enjoy the chant aspect of the song and simplicity of the lyrics, making the song very easy to sing along with. You can not help but sing and move your body in response. I enjoyed the vamp and how the song continually modulated. The transition from the chorus and vamp was done very smooth and well. This was a great way to begin the album and gives the listening audience a sense of anticipation for what is to come.
Since watching the live telecast of PAW during their Summer Conventions, I always enjoyed the way they begun the telecasts singing the church classic "Sound of Pentecost." I thought that it was more than fitting that the organization included this on the album. The churchy essence of a song always takes me into a place of joy. I was not expecting the vamp that the it transitioned to. It took me by surprise, after hearing the song multiple times, I never heard that portion on the live telecast. I thought it was extremely creative to add to the song but it took away from the churchy essence that I love.
When "Shift This Place" started began I was pleasantly surprised that it was the song previously recorded by Youthful Praise. As a fan of that whole album, Live! The Praise... The Worship, I was excited to hear PAW sing this song and see what signature they would place on it. The music breakdown before the vamp of the song was extremely impressive and created a very nice groove. I enjoyed the song but nothing was different from the original recording done by Youthful Praise, and because of the already simplistic nature of the song, it wasn't a song that was memorable.
"Hold On" begins with an exhortation about how we are victorious with Christ on our side. Released by the Pentecostal Ambassadors in 1981, it was really cool to hear them reunite to sing this for a PAW album. You can feel the passion of the lyrics once the soloist begins the song. After the soloist sung the verse twice, the trio of singers sung the familiar lyrics made famous by Fred Hammond in his song, A Song of Strength. The song was a great addition to the album because it was something different and was very entertaining while inspiring all at the same time.
Jonathan Nelson begins, "Pentecostal Medley" with the referencing of testimony service and introducing of Bishop Leonard Scott. The first song that begins the medley is "I Don't Mind Giving God The Praise." There is nothing like these style of songs because they are simple in message and delivery but hold a sense of power in them. The next song in the medley was "Praise The Lord Everybody" followed by "I Get Joy When I Think About What He's Done For Me." The great thing about songs like these are the ability to easily transition from one to another. As "I Get Joy When I Think About What He's Done For Me" progressed and went through various word changes, ending with the wording of God is a good God. Bishop Scott and the choir then transitioned to the driving part of the song embracing the call and response format where the choir repeated "Yes He is." When singing songs like this I love this section because it really brings the song home. Bishop Scott then transitioned to "Living He Loved Me." The breakdown done by the band really created a churchy essence. Bishop then reverted back to singing "I Don't Mind Giving God The Praise" and "Praise The Lord Everybody" before the song faded out.
I was happy to see and hear friend to Pentecostal Perspective, MarQuita Danzy, lead "Bless His Name." I was very surprised to see this was the song from Jonathan Nelson's early years album "Everything You Are." This is such an intimate worship song and MarQuita did a great job setting the atmosphere for worship. I enjoyed the vamp that was created for this version and how it redeveloped an already great song. The way MarQuita ended the song was aweing. She, along side the band, set a moment for personal worship. Jonathan's exhortation was natural because of the atmosphere set by the wording and singing of the lyrics.
It was really cool to learn that the lead soloist, Eric Dawkins is a product of the organization based on the introduction given by Jonathan Nelson on "I Won't Complain." Not sure if this would be the same song as the solo classic originally recorded by Reverand Paul Jones, but I was thrilled to hear that it was. To my surprise, the inclusion of the midtempo beat really added to the song. Eric Dawkins definitely did the song much justice. His vocal skills and mastery were on heavy display for this song. I was intrigued at how or if the choir would be added to the song, and the way they vocally arranged it was genius in delivery. The addition of Jason Nelson to the vamp was really a listening treat. The combination of Jason Nelson and Eric Dawkins really created a magical moment that happened to be recorded. The personal testimony given by Eric towards the end of the song was really heart wrenching and so transparent, you cannot help but be moved. This song is definitely a favorite off the album. Just by the atmosphere set by the song, you definitely know a praise erupted afterwards.
As a humongous fan of Jason Nelson's voice, I was so overjoyed to hear him on the next song. I was more overjoyed when I realized he was singing the church solo classic hymn "High Place." The addition of only the organ was so fitting because it let his voice be placed on straight display while still having the enhancement of musical sound. Every word Jason sings you feel in the depths of your soul. Definitely a song you don't want to be still for because a personal worship atmosphere is sure to take place and unknown tongues are definitely sure to come out. My only qualm with the song is the length. I definitely could have stood for more of Jason Nelson's voice.
Son to the organization, Byron Cage, begins church classic "Down Through The Years." I like how the song was updated but yet maintained it's original essence and original blueprint. The interactive sound creative for the vamp was really a great addition to the song. I wish they would have done a mic pass during this part because it was the perfect setting for that.
The orchestra sound created at the beginning of "God's Got My Back" set an emotional pulling and gripping stage for the song. The unison sound created in the beginning of the song really was superbly done. Jason on the vamp was a delightful addition to the song. This song was touching, but a non memorable song because of it's wordiness, difficulty to sing along, and repetitious nature.
Months before I was able to purchase the album, I had an opportunity to hear a preview of the next two songs. Ever since I initially heard these songs, I fell in love. "It Will Be Alright" begins with the sound of a drum machine so you instantaneously know that it is going to be a churchy/shouting song. Once the choir and lead vocalist, Tim Slaughter, come in, you realize this is an updated version of the church classic "Didn't I Tell You." The updating of the lyrics in the verse portion of the song was a great touch while still maintaining it's church essence. I like the way Tim Slaughter and musicians bring in the vamp, the combination of his voice and the band's playing created a nice groove. The exhortation done by Kris Jamison really took the song to the next level and led you to the musical climax of the song that she skillfully led.
The album transitions right into "Got It." I love a praise break that has an anthem or chant aspect to it and this song is one for the record books. Pamela Westbrook murdered the song and created an atmosphere of praise that you could feel erupt in the place. The simplistic but intricate quality of the music was outstanding and showed the true musicianship of the band holistically. As you listen to the song, you can not help but want to give God a praise. If you are feeling defeated before listening to this song, I guarantee after you listen your mindset and mood will change.
The last song on the album is the choir classic, "Majestic," originally recorded by Sandi Patty. I really enjoyed the groove created at the vamp. The musicians really outdid themselves on the song. As a choir staple this song was a very fitting way to end the album.
This is such an amazing album that really captivates your listening ear throughout your listening experience. The soloists chosen throughout the album are stellar and really make the album top notch. Please support Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and purchase the album via their website. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!