Summer 2008 has been quite hot, hazy and has left an unpleasant drought of super gospel hits for us to enjoy during those nice drives down the boulevard. Add in the fact that the U.S. is still struggling over the idea of seeing $4.00 a gallon for regular unleaded. Just think about the countless hundreds of dollars pumped into your gas tank just during the week. It has been quite depressing, to say the least.
We usually place our annual pickings for the best summer jams at PRAYZEHYMNOnline.com in our Summer Sizzlers' section. And boy, would we want to feature a healthy list for our faithful viewing audience. But this time around, there have been very little jams to spread around. Luckily, we were able to manage to pull out ten songs that inspired us and got us going during the dog days of summer. Let's see who and what made the cut this year.
10. "Holding On To You" - 21:03
Total Attention (PAJAM/Verity)
The charm tucked in the cool R&B groove and the sexy-sounding production fits oh so well on the young gents. It's riding music with a "B2K meets Commissioned" touch.
9. "For Your Feet" - Rance Allen Group
Closest Friend (Tyscot)
A fun track that sho'nuff makes you wanna boogie woogie woogie (slide to the left/then move to the right/everything that's breathin'/get your praise on tonight). The funky groove, laced with flashy horns and tough percussion, is a comfortable revisit to the golden days of this legendary group. Got Stax?
8. "Favor of God" - Martha Munizzi
Change The World (Martha Munizzi Music)
Shelia E. should be jealous right about now! Martha Munizzi works the sweat out of this jubilant praise celebration and is perfected with Munizzi's enthusiastic ad-libs. And while the lyrics are quite encouraging, the funk is where the song thrives.
7. "Words of Life" - J.R.
Life By Stereo (Cross Movement Records)
With the brand of cool resembling a John Legend and the lush production of an Al Green tune, this song is definitely one of the 2008's ultimate summer gospo-ballads. While radio focused more on the rock/hip-hop-sliced single "Not A Slave," we were too busy enjoying this smooth worship ballad.
6. "Friend of Mine" - The Murrills
Family Prayer (QuietWaters Entertainment/Verity)
And then D. Lawrence opened up his collection of 45's and unearthed a treasure with Eddie Kendricks' gospel-inspired "He's A Friend." He took the song into the studio and put new verses with the soulful lead vocals of the Murrills on it...and breathed new life into the disco gem. And it was good.
5. "Made It" - Cheryl James & Voices of Worship
Live (Source of Synergy)
The glorious East Coast groove on this joint is worth hearing again and again. Melvin Crispell's arrangements on top of VOW's juicy harmonies nail this funky cut. And when the vamp kicks in, turn up the volume. You are bound to declare:"I'm still here/standing/standing/standing."
4. "Stand Out" - Tye Tribbett & G.A.
Stand Out (Columbia)
You got a taste of hip-hop, rock and tough gospel mixed into this outcry for holiness. The super-charged gospel anthem is a hyperactive party starter that sums up the high-octane of Tye Tribbett's live performances into one cutting-edge radio-friendly track. About time!
3. "Ooh La La" - LeJune Thompson
Metamorphosis (LeCe Entertainment)
Cedric Thompson is still one of the coolest masterminds in the studio today. This cool vibe, featuring Lejune Thompson's impressive vocals and slick executions, is one of the year's freshest tracks cut. With just a little extra push from a major distributor, this track would have blazed many urban gospel radio markets. It sure did get our attention.
2. "Still In Love" - Kirk Franklin
The Fight of My Life (GospoCentric/Zomba)
After hearing Kirk Franklin's skate party introduction, this track grooves with the dazzling effects of Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" and the legendary Larry Gold's crisp strings. It's another heavyweight summer jam from the reigning gospel veteran. This is fun music!
1. "Return" - Dorinda Clark-Cole
Take It Back (GospoCentric/Zomba)
PAJAM gets jiggy with it on this big urban jam featuring the awesome raspy, jazzy vocal work of Dorinda Clark-Cole. Surprisingly, the song fits like a magic glove on Clark-Cole's personality. The melody is totally strong, the chorus is smart and the vamp is outrageously addictive after one listen.
So...now that we finished our annual summer report for 2008, what summer jams do you feel should have been mentioned in our assessment?