25 Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Songs You Better Have…Or Else

Posted January 28, 2018 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

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Thou Art Holy
from the album Dallas
Writer: Gary R. Montoute

This reverent worship selection is gorgeously wrapped around a bevy of warm synth strings and Thomas Whitfield elegance (see “Precious Jesus”). If this doesn’t motivate you to enter into the spirit of worship, nothing will.

My Trust Lies in You

from the album Give Us Peace
Writer: James Mitchell

Dueting alongside James Mitchell, a young Yolanda Adams appears confident and ready to rise to the forefront with gospel’s leading ladies on this slow-moving power ballad. That same year, Adams would unveil her solo debut LP Just As I Am, a bold piece of work produced by Detroit gospel torchbearer Thomas Whitfield.

He Got Up

from the album Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir
Writer: Edwin Hawkins

A one verse ditty that gets the job done. It tells the Easter story within two minutes, all infused with hand clapping, stirring choral harmonies and rhythmic punch.

Have Mercy

from the album Have Mercy
Writer: Edwin Hawkins

Like his Love Alive classics, Walter Hawkins pours every bit of emotion into this Edwin Hawkins composition, a number that works like a Negro spiritual dressed up in Hawkins cashmere.

New Life

from the album Dallas
Writer: Nona Brown

Stocked with Kevin Bond’s brassy synths, this sparkly selection plays like a contemporary jazz session fit for a late night musical. Put a star on the whispery bridge, where the tenors echo a sweet bargaining with their cool evangelizing: “He will give you new life in exchange for your old one/It won’t cost a dime, it’s a deal of a lifetime.” Then the choir and standout band rolls out a driving vamp that’ll leave you clapping for more.

I Call on Jesus

from the album Kings and Kingdoms
Writer: N/A

Fueled by blazing tambourines, handclaps and a fervent East Coast contemporary choir style, this spunky workout sums up the feelgood vibe of  ’90’s gospel. Towards the back of the track, Walter Hawkins nails down some soaring ad-libs.

It’s Not I

from the album Have Mercy
Writer: Dora Taylor

Beautifully packaged with emotional pleas from Hawkins Family vet Shirley Miller and songwriter Dora Taylor, “It’s Not I” is one of the illustrious standouts on Have Mercy. Thanks to its sultry contemporary R&B stylings an its “this little light of mine” logic, the song tastes like a slice of humility.

Taste and See

from the album Angels Will Be Singing
Writer: Patrisha Gill

“Come every one/Taste and see, He’s good,” the sopranos belt on the zealous vamp of “Taste and See.” The other sections reply with their own parts, creating a world of glorious harmonies. It is moments like these that make gospel so alluring.

God Will Take Care of You

from the album That Name
Writer: Edwin Hawkins

At the opening of Walter Hawkins’ best-selling Love Alive IV album, a brief “God Will Take Care of You” echoes through the speakers like a youth choir’s answered prayer. To locate the meat-and-potatoes of this updated hymn, you have to go back to Edwin’s That Name with the Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir. There Lynette takes control of the sail while a fleet of first-rate musicians  — Kevin Bond on the jazzy keys, Jonathan DuBose on guitar, Joel Smith on kickin’ drums — supply the smoldering funk.

I Won’t Be Troubled Anymore

from the album Angels Will Be Singing
Writer: Richard Smallwood

“Total Praise” writer Richard Smallwood was highly influenced by the Hawkins sound, and the proof is here. This composition, layered with sophisticated chord structures and piercing mood swings, finds the gutsy Hawkins vocalist Lynette Hawkins-Stephens delivering a two-part performance; one leaning on Phyllis Hyman groaning on the low notes, the other going for tent revival squalling. Like an update on the spiritual “Soon I Will Be Done With the Troubles of the World,” this  of those poignant head lifters necessary for those very tough times: “Soon these trials will be over and I won’t cry no more.”

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About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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