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Reviews


-Ted Holland
Blues Revue
February/March 2003 


more reviews of Saved!
 
Great gospel music usually comes from places like Harlem, Chicago, and Jackson, Mississipi. This batch comes from north of the border and it's the footpartin'est "amen corner" gospel disc to come along in a while. The music is designed to make you quit drinking, smoking, shooting dice, watchin Anna Nicole Smith, and all your other sinning and get baptised.

Saved! was produced by Frazier Mohawk, the former head of A&R at Elektra Records, and Michael Fonfara, keyboardist for Canada's Downchild Blues Band. The duo rounded up a crew that includes Californian John Finley, bassist Tim Drummond, and Hiram Joseph, Danny Brooks, and Amoy Levy, who are recognized as some of the top gospel singers in Canada. The project kicks off with Joseph's 51-second wail of "Down By The Riverside" that begs for a few minutes more; later, the tune gets a funky glee-club treatment from the whole crew. Joseph, in fact - gets the best songs on the album: He leads Curtis Mayfield's classic "People Get Ready," and he gives "A Place Called Hope," an uplifting ditty by gospel diva Babbie Mason that's the release's standout, an angle that could garner crossover airplay. Levy, the group's female lead vocalist, gets to shine on a pair of great cuts: "24/7/365" (a rocking, country-flavored "Jesus is On the Mainline" takeoff) and the contemporary plea "Higher Ground."

Brooks handles the bluesiest pieces. His "
Still Standing Tall" is guitar-and-Hammmond-organ blues/gospel at its best, and his "Righteous Highway," backed only by acoustic guitar and harmonica is sweet. Finley contributes a reworking of the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come" and "The Promise," backed by solo piano. The title track, an outstanding choir-style jump tune penned by Drummond and Bob Dylan, is driven by Drummond's vocals and Fonfara's B-3, and there's also an improv version of the civil-rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." If your salvation depends on your buying one gospel release this year, get Saved! - it's a great collection featuring a wide range of styles.
 



"
Saved! was produced by Frazier Mohawk, the former head of A&R at Elektra Records, and Michael Fonfara, keyboardist for Canada's Downchild Blues Band."