STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 3215-3804 LABEL: Elektra 7559624392 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £16.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
With the exception of the occasional U2 album it's very rare for Cross Rhythms to get to review an album which has already clocked up a good half million sales. But such is the situation here with "Mountain High...Valley Low" despite spending much of the last 12 months on the top of the American gospel charts has still to grace Britain's Christian bookshops. Belatedly Atlantic/Eastwest have released it into the mainstream so those keen to catch up on Yolanda's mega hit will have to brave the trials of their local groove merchant and rub shoulders with Eminem fans, Boyzone buffs and garage devotees. (No bad thing methinks.) But what of the music here? Well, first up the opener "Time To Change" is a slinkily produced piece of pop funk with the potential to become another Mary Mary crossover while "Continual Praise" recalls something of the Sounds Of Blackness with fiery choir riffing and hollering over some phat beats. It's not all plain sailing however. "That Name", a Richard Smallwood penned ballad, has one of the most OTT arrangements since the last Steve Green album. But if you can forgive Yolanda's occasional lapse into theatric bombast, one is again confronted with a diva who can holler down the pews as good as any of the legendary gospel matriarchs. So summing up, all the musical bases of the last 30 or so years of gospel, from holler 'em down storefront, to funky pop, to Vegas-style glitz, are covered here. As Cross Rhythms observed as far back as 1991, Yolanda is the possessor of fearsome vocal chops. It seems that finally the whole music world has come to recognise that fact.
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