You might not instinctively associate great choir music with the tough streets of Brooklyn, New York. That is unless you're familiar with the choir that resides at the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle. The choir is composed entirely of largely untrained church members, but after 25 years of writing, composing and recording, this choir has made its place in the Christian music market. They now come to us with their latest live recording, I'll Say Yes.
As the album opens, I was a bit taken aback. It opens with a man talking to a congregation and then praying. At first I thought that I had skipped the first track somehow. Seeing that I had not and giving it another, more intent listen, it was simply an invitation to the listener to stand and worship with them. However, admittedly, it feels a bit awkward being the first thing you hear. On first listen, it makes you feel as if you walked in on something rather than entering into worship.
From there, it goes into the familiar Chris Tomlin number "Holy is the Lord." There isn't anything new or anything that sticks out about this recording. The strength of the choir is a plus, but it doesn't differ from the proven and well known script of the song. However, it is nice considering the amount of unfamiliar songs that fill much of the rest of the album.
The song "I Never Lost My Praise" is a stirring, solo-driven tune that talks about hanging onto your focus and adoration for God despite the trials of life. The song "We Fill the Sanctuary" is a rousing Latin number that was unexpected by this listener as it comes off feeling very fresh and exciting for choir music.
The next five songs enter into a more mellow worship atmosphere. The title track, "I'll Say Yes," is a very simple song as it is mostly the repetition of the phrase over and over, but the emotion of the worship leader's voice in her words before and during the song gives you a great sense of how vital saying those words to God truly is. However, "I'll Say Yes" is the only truly noteworthy point in this set.
The last two songs provide a strong ending for the record. In one of but a handful of instances in the album, the choir and its beautiful harmonies dominate and sweep you away in "Bless Your Name Forevermore." This is the type of song that I think of when I hear about the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It has a great solo and the choir is more than strong in this powerful song. The last song is "Worthy is the Lord," which is an arrangement of the popular worship song "Worthy is the Lamb."
As I listened to this album, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to actually see and hear this live. I was often left with a "you had to be there" feeling. If you're a fan of choir music then you're going to want to pick this up. If you've heard about the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and want that experience, you'd probably be better off going to hear them in person before picking up I'll Say Yes.- Review date: 1/29/08, written by Matt Johnson
Record Label: Integrity Music
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