Reviewed by George Luke
Sonnie Badu - Croydon-based property developer by day and worship leader by night (and on Sundays, of course) - is grandson of the legendary Ghanaian guitarist Akwasi Manu. This is Sonnie's debut album. Though squarely aimed at the African side of Britain's black church, there's enough variety here to make worshippers from other cultures feel welcome; a hint of Latin here, some smooth jazz there. and it's all so slickly polished in its production, it's not going to scare off anyone who only listens to MOR pop stuff. Highlights include "He That Dwelleth", "No Rock" and a handful of traditional Nigerian choruses lumped together with the rather generic title "African Medley". Noel Robinson drops by and lends his guitar talents to the title track. Saxophonist Mike Parlett also guests, as do jazz guitarist Ciyo Brown and Isaac Aryee (keyboardist for Will Young and Mis-teeq, amongst others). The album's been laid out in that time-honoured pattern the "praise and worship time" in most churches firmly sticks to, so you have four or five slow, ballady songs in succession, bookended on either side by one or two rip-roaring, lively songs. There's probably a good reason why this pattern works when churches use it in worship, but when transferred onto a CD, you just end up with an album that starts brilliantly and then gets really slow and boring in the middle - by which time you've given up, switched off and missed the brilliant ending (unless you're one of those people who loves slow, serene ballads, of course. I'm clearly not). All in all, not bad - but next time, give us more of the ends and less of the middle, please.
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