Prime Cuts: Sweeping Through the City, I Need You Now, Hero
God has called us to be giants, yet in our foolishness we choose to be midgets. The Hebrew prophets such as Jonah and Obadiah were called to take on cities for God's glory, but in our faithlessness we even fumble to even mention the name of "Jesus" in a sentence at the office. If there's anything we can take home from listening to Beverly Crawford's new record, it's that when it comes to Jesus she's a giant. She's a giant in terms of hollering out the praises of the Lord. With her welterweight vocals she has a way of commanding worship that has a way of knocking doubts away into the hinterlands. And she's a giant as far as faith is concerned. These 12 new songs are fierce, bold and Biblical piercing that they are like the pebbles of David ready to topple the Goliaths of doubts in our lives. Lodging in at no. 1 on Billboard's Gospel Album chart, "Thank You for All You've Done" is Crawford's most successful record yet. It is also preceded by the single "Sweeping through the City' which is already causing a maelstrom on the Gospel charts. Recorded live at the Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, the set features the Paul Jackson and Antioch's Voice of Praise as the backing ensemble with Michael Bereal and James Roberson handling the production chores.
The tone is set with the aforementioned praise rouser "Sweeping through the City," a re-make of the Caravan hit (also made famous by Shirley Caesar). Yet, the charm of "Sweeping through the City" is that the song is so emblematic of Crawford's own mission; refusing to just sit back and do nothing as far as the Gospel is concerned, Crawford here sings about knocking off the mortar of every city for Jesus. Yet, it is not with brute force but with living out Jesus' teaching on the Sermon on the Mount. Besides "Sweeping through the City," Crawford resurrects another oldie but goodie. This time it's her own 1995 breakthrough hit "Jesus Precious Jesus." The slight gravel in her vocal intonations gives this song an earthiness that adds to the song's levity.
"Hero" (not the Mariah Carey song but an original) is a tribute by Crawford and her daughter Latina to her father and grandfather, Bishop Walter Camps, Sr. The song trumps with lots of heart tugging moments aided by its refreshingly intimate lyrics. Though "Every Breath" and "Anyhow Praise" borders on average, the album is redeemed by its penultimate track "I Need You Now." With a sturdy and well-crafted melodic line that recalls the hymns of old, "I Need You Now" is indeed a standout. While album closer "I Know It Was the Blood" brings Crawford back to church as she showcases her powerhouse vocal in service of celebrating the redemptive work of Christ.
If faith comes from hearing, hearing these bold and celebrative tunes will certainly strengthen our trust in Jesus. And if you listen to this album long enough, don't be surprised to find the Goliaths of our lives trembling for mercy.