Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day—its easy to marvel at the expense incurred on one day of expression compared to “normal” days when a sharp stick in the eye or a passing animal grunt are the normal prize. A seeming lack of consistency in handling interpersonal relationships is the norm. No amount of workshops, webinars, books, small […]

Bishop Samuel R. Blakes I Survived

Samuel blakesBishop Samuel R. Blakes
I Survived
Top Music Group/Fountain of Life Records/
Central South Distribution (release date: July 31, 2015)

By Bob Marovich

The African American church is blessed with many pastors who can sing. I mean reallysing.

Bishop Samuel R. Blakes is one of them.

Senior Pastor of New Orleans- and Baton Rouge-based New Home Ministries, Bishop Blakes possesses those classic gravelly, pulpit-worn gospel pipes that communicate an Ive-been-there-so-I-know honesty. His voice, which runs the gamut from shout to meaty croon, is ideal for the material on his album, I Survived, a selection of neo-traditional songs filled with wooden-church wisdom.

Even the praise pieces, such as He Is God and Yes I Do, place gratitude in the context of Gods goodness. God Wants to Hear From You, the albums high point and current single, is a deliciously old fashioned organ-and-piano church song. The lyrics are an encouraging pat on the shoulder. Blakes calls out the many ways God has bestowed favor on us, and all God wants is a thank you. Small price to pay for the blessings of life.

Indeed, most of the albums lyrics are sympathetic and empathetic, calling to mind the gentle catharsis of an album from another New Orleans-based Bishop, Paul S. Morton Sr., whose post-Katrina Cry Your Last Tear contained the same weary but ever-hopeful ambience. On I Survived, Morton joins Blakes for Scars, a churchy song of survival on which he references their shared hurricane experience. Storm clouds may gather but, as Blakes notes a couple of times during the CD, what were going through is not where were going to.

Blakes drops samples of live sermons throughout the album, mostly during the first half, which employs acrackly 70s soul vibe beneath songs of reassurance, encouragement, and hope. The album’s only imperfections arethe unnecessary reprises of “You’re Not Alone” and “Get Over It;” theydo not add any value to the tracks they modify.

Producer Pharis Evans Jr., of the famous Evans Family (Clay, Pharis, LouDella) of Chicago, does a superb job capturing an old school vibe with new school elements.

At a time when vertical praise songs are the most popular commercially, I Survived is a much-needed reminder that gospel music can, and more often should, be a salve that soothes the wounded heart. The songs on this lovely album, full of feeling and as leisurely as a late summer day in the Deep South, are an aural hug of compassion for those who can’t always feel the healing from getting their praise on.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: Scars, God Wants to Hear From You.

The post Bishop Samuel R. Blakes – I Survived appeared first on The Journal of Gospel Music.

About Okeh Collins

Blogger, Electrical Engr, Pr personnel, a child of God. C.R.O Proudly Gospel Media, a member of Gospel Media Association. Okeh Collins (CollinsDrums) Is one of Nigeria's dedicated gospel blogger, he has been nominated for both local and international awards. Think of anything gospel? Think CollinsDrums He's a promoter. Call +2348063065790

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