Reviewed by Nigel Harris
Bishop Charles E Blake serves as Presiding Bishop of the six million member Church Of God In Christ, one of the largest denominations in the USA. Since 1969 he has been the pastor of West Angeles Church Of God In Christ, which has grown from a membership of 50 to over 24,000 today. Music is clearly a central element in the worship and ministry of "West A Church", and Bishop Blake leads by example, taking the lead vocals on two tracks on this album, the medleys "Oh Lord I Thank You/I'm So Glad That The Lord Saved Me" and "I Just Want To Praise You/The Greatest Thing In All My Life". Other tracks are led by several the church's gifted singers. This whole album is a celebration of a God with whom there is 'No Limit', and you can't help but be caught up in the power and exuberance of the 100+ singers and the outstanding band. I notice from the liner notes that an additional 14 "studio singers" are listed, so this has clearly been a very professional and carefully crafted project, but the live worship is only enhanced by it. The choir arrangements are impressive and the soloists quite outstanding. As traditional gospel music it is perhaps more mainstream than some, sometimes more cabaret or pop than Pentecostal in influences, but throughout it is pure class. If gospel choirs are your thing, or if you want to sample the best of this genre, this is highly recommended. To get a glimpse of what worship is like at West A, you can watch a performance of the opening track of this album, "Lord Prepare Me" on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJsEE9r-mJc.
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
Interested in reviewing music? Find out