Mark A. Smith
Danbla Records 2005
Mark A. Smith is a pleasant gospel balladeer with better than average talent who infuses his quiet-storm gospel production with hip hop, rap, and jazz stylings to great effect.
In fact, the tracks on which Smith experiments with styles not often associated with gospel music are the clear standouts on this overall fine project. The hip hop quality of “Get Ready” is very energizing, as is the rap-infused “Try Jesus,” with Brad “Changed Man” Reid providing the rap vocals. “Restoration” is the most infectious and radio-friendly performance in the collection, but “I’m Blessed” comes in close second with its lively interplay between Smith and his background singers.
Ministry would have been even better had Smith led off with “Restoration” instead of “Allow Me,” the latter a delicate, introspective ballad that seems out of place at the beginning of the CD. “Allow Me” would have been better placed at the conclusion of the CD. Still and all, Ministry is well-produced, enjoyable, and a good showcase for Mark A. Smith’s eclectic musical tastes.