Youthful Praise Ftg J J Hairston - Exalted: Live In Baltimore

Published Friday 24th October 2008
Youthful Praise Ftg J J Hairston - Exalted: Live In Baltimore
Youthful Praise Ftg J J Hairston - Exalted: Live In Baltimore

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 49214-14595
LABEL: Light 6956

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

Niche music is so sophisticated these days that it is becoming increasingly difficult to bridge the culture gaps which the industry forces upon us. First impressions of this full-on soul/gospel gig fronted by JJ Hairston and recorded live in Baltimore, leave it open to being far too posy to be taken seriously. That would be a mistake. It's a quality production, albeit in that familiar lead-and-follow tradition with the oh-so-sincere Christian USofA style which pales after a few numbers. However, tune in with one or two more plays, perhaps you'll get it. It is packed with precision-drilled praise, best described in the words of the opening "preacher" singer as "Holy Ghost noise." Yet no matter who's behind the mic, the effect is the same - a relentless string of big, brassy "live" action songs before a mass concert audience, driven with a frenetic urgency which is, quite frankly, hard work and exhausting to listen to. That's because the pumped up, slightly shrieky lead vocalists kick off practically every song with some kind of question or exhortation to which an amazingly disciplined wall of choir responds - repeating exactly the same words each time, while the guitars, keyboards, drums and the whole b/v caboodle hold the arrangement together. The formula itself is repeated song by song for most of the album. It is an extremely predictable, tiresome format. And it doesn't live up to its claim - I didn't get the "youthful" bit: it sounds as grown up as any other outing in the tradition. Admittedly, the result is a slick, well-crafted package, and the second disc, a DVD of the event, provides a bit of distraction along the way for those who like their music visual. But I wonder if the genre is in danger of becoming a knees-up parody of itself. I know it is big business, but it's hardly music and it really doesn't sit comfortably on the deck. You have to BE THERE. A good memento if you caught the tour. If you didn't, there are better gospel packages around.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Intro [Listen]
2. Sincerity [Listen]
3. Jesus Reigns [Listen]
4. Glory And Honor Ftg Judith McAllister [Listen]
5. He Is Exalted-Give You Praise [Listen]
6. Great Is The Lord [Listen]
7. Everything Is Changed [Listen]
8. Freedom [Listen]
9. You Are Ftg Jordan Martin [Listen]
10. I Will Give You The Praise Ftg Timiney Figueroa Caton & Steve Lawrence [Listen]
11. Spirit Of God [Listen]
12. Satisfied Ftg Gloria White [Listen]
13. Wonderful God Ftg Ted Winn [Listen]
14. We Worship You [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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