Rob Mercer - The Photo Album

Published Tuesday 11th June 2013
Rob Mercer - The Photo Album
Rob Mercer - The Photo Album

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 134951-20085

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

With the excellent opener "The Rock", based on the Psalms ("Come on glorify the Lord/For he is worthy to be praised"), you have everything that is good in contemporary gospel worship. A slick production with sinuous bass and intricate arrangement and a soft and sweet tenor lead which croons and purrs soulful cadences. Unlike his 'A Brother's Worship' album which opened some doors for Ron and which was chock-a-block with guests performing Rob's songs of divine adoration, this features Ron alone (well, most of the time) at the lead vocal mic. He certainly has the chops, finding rich and soulful improvisations on his simple melodies without overdoing the melisma and vibrato (common faults on a lot of modern gospel sets). Particular standouts are the slow, acoustic guitar-tinged "God Alone" and "Amazingly" with a thudding groove and the lead shared by Philip Mercer and Michael Holliday. I'm not sure the tributes to Marvin Winans and Marvin Gaye work too well on the two part "The Marvin Medley". Predictably the jazzy run-through of "What's Going On" isn't in the same ballpark as the sublime original. And while I'm about it, the spoken tribute to Rob's mother on "Jennie" is undoubtedly sincere but also cloyingly OTT. But with top rate production from Antonio Neal, Tyrone Johnson (Sweet Beatz), Ken Andres (Troy Sneed) and jazzman Allyn Johnson and a generous 13 tracks this is still an impressive showcase of imaginative soul singing and a set of songs which often are genuinely God-breathed.

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