KIM BURRELL: The Love Album (Shanachie)


Kim Burrell is a gospel superstar and even if you’re a non-believer a listen to this new ten tracker will have you agreeing with Whitney Houston’s assessment that Ms. Burrell has “one of the greatest voices of our time”. Her voice is an instrument of power, warmth and beauty, though here she tempers the power as she focuses on a selection of more intimate songs that celebrate love – both God’s love and the love we share for one and another – secular and spiritual.

So – as is the case with much of the best modern Gospel music – you can enjoy what’s on offer here on two levels. The most obvious Gospel item on the set is a cover of the Clark Sisters’ ‘Jesus Is A Love Song’ while the least obvious is a version of Earth Wind And Fire’s ‘Love’s Holiday’. The former is a complex builder while the latter (prefaced by a short prayer expressing a hope that God is listening) is a thing of beauty by any standards and Kim brings out all the delicate majesty in Skip Scarborough’s melody. It’s one of the album’s standouts – rivalled maybe by the opener, ‘Let’s Make It To Love’. Self-penned, it’s a busy, almost Latin shuffle of a song with a lyric that yearns for the answers that only love can bring. It’s delivered with a real conviction. Other goodies include ‘Sweeter’ – a song written by Kim’s sister, Kathy. It’s a lovely ballad with a great harmonic hook in the chorus and no surprise that the label have chosen it as the LP’s lead single. Listen up too to a cover of El DeBarge’s ‘Love Me In a Special Way’. Like the EWF song, this too is prefaced by a brief prayer before Kim opens up in her own “special way”. Hear that “special way” to best effect on the album’s most dramatic cut, ‘Is This The Way Love Goes’. With only a simple piano accompaniment, you’ll soon realize why Whitney Houston was so fulsome in her praise.

(BB) 4/5