STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 9493-9186 LABEL: Verity 012414322821 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2003-08-08 RRP: £14.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In Britain's black majority churches this, the debut gospel release by an American singer/songwriter who has recorded with such mainstream giants as Madonna, George Clinton, Santana and Toni Braxton, is considered a must-have item. Rightly so. The first couple of songs are wonderful, "Message In The Music" sounding convincingly autobiographical (it isn't - it was written by famed producer Dallas Austin and Kandi Burruss) - Debra soulfully intoning the story of a lost sheep returning to the Church fold over a socking groove while a jazzily funky "Love" is also a delight. Gradually though, the effect dissipates a tad with some of the songs too stylised for comfort and "Jesus" sounding uncannily like something Andrae Crouch might pen. But Debra has a great voice and the mighty Fred Hammond gives some soul power to the Caribbean-tinged "Because Of Your Love". Having Debra pose for the photo shoot with guitar was a mistake as most of the guitars heard on 'Surrender' are played by husband Jimmy while the "Interlude" bits of a squeaky voiced child are grating rather than cute or instructional. But the best cuts here herald a major new talent.
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Debra Killings is a talented musician (she plays bass and keyboards) and has toured with some of the biggest names in urban music. As an accomplished session singer, she has performed powerful background vocals on over 30 CDs. All the songs on this album have been penned by Debra and include Without Him, Surrender and Oh, My God.