Reviewed by Tom Lennie
'Count It All Joy' is the somewhat breathtaking debut recording from Memphis, Tennessee based Darrel Petties and his 38-member Strength In Praise choir. Darrel and team, we are told, merge "up-to-the minute R&B urban influences and true-to-tradition, classic gospel." Jam-packed with energy and excitement, this combo certainly breathe new life into the modern gospel genre. There's bags of variety in these self-penned songs, from the funky title track opener to the quieter waters of the emotion-laden "A Place". High powered faith declarations such as "Yes Lord" and "Glory Hallelujah" (which was featured on the 'WOW Gospel 2005' compilation) gush over with energy and thanksgiving. Elsewhere, Darrel offers a creative and masterful adaptation of the old hymn "It Is Well", though, as with several tracks, Mr Petties hands over lead mic here to a talented team member. The album's "loudest" track, "Mighty God" is described as "a full tilt shout of praise that kicks off in overdrive and only builds from there"! Better still, in my books, is the gentler closer, "Lord Help Me", which flows in silky smoothness before building to a climax and brings out the versatility of this able lead performer's vocals. In a phrase, if you love gospel music, you're gonna find loads to enjoy here.
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