Church: Songs of Soul & Inspiration is a beautiful recording of songs that are drenched in soul, spirit, faith, and a couple of extra cups of love. It opens your heart and fills it with warmth. It takes you to church whether you are sitting on a beach or in rush hour traffic. The inspiration of this music touches you right where you are.
Dr. Maya Angelou delivers the spoken word for this collection of 14 classical, gospel, pop, and R&B songs performed in a gospel style by the leading ladies of music, whose beginnings were in church. The featured songbirds include Jennifer Holliday (“The Wonder of You”) , Patti Labelle (“Way Up There”), Stephanie Mills (“Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand”), En Vogue (“How Deep Is Your Love”), Patti Austin (“You Gotta Be”), Shirley Caesar (“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”), Chaka Khan (“Love Me Still”), Denyce Graves (“Ava Maria”), Nnenna Freelon (“Ooh Child”), Dionne Warwick (“What The World Needs Now Is Love”), and Ann Nesby (“A Song for You”). They are harminiously backed by The Fire Choir. This angelic choir is also showcased on “As” and “Way Up There.”
The initial seed for this project was planted with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves when a young fan told her he could hear Church in her voice. She teamed with songwriter/producer Tena Rix Clark to create this magnificient recording. There is also a second CD which includes interviews with each of the performers capturing their early experiences in church and video footage of the recording. The liner notes are beautifully written by Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison.
On a personal note, I had to get this CD after both my sister-in-law and a close friend were in love with it and told me I definitely needed to give it a listen. I am glad that I did.