Pastor Willie E. Kirkpatrick Presents Joseph Price & the Prince of Peace Choir
Do You Know
Prince of Peace (release date: August 2, 2019)
By Bob Marovich
Though Prince of Peace Baptist Church in Berkeley, Missouri, has served the St. Louis area for nearly a century, its choir just cut its debut full-length recording last October.
It’s not that the church’s music ministry hasn’t made a record before; I know of at least one single that its Choral Club released on the Serenity label years ago. This is, however, the first full-length recording by the current iteration of Prince of Peace choral members, directed by the church’s minister of music, Joseph Price.
The large-voiced, thunderous choir is ably assisted by a passing parade of equally zesty lead vocalists on an album of churchy songs that contain timeless messages of hope, encouragement, and praise.
Price demonstrates his skills as a songwriter on selections such as on the opening “What If This Was the Last Time” and the worship anthem “Bless That Wonderful Name,” which includes a fiery duet between Jewell Brown Taylor and Erica Rogers.
Guest soloist Michael Lampkin, a pastor and BET Sunday Best Season 5 finalist, sings the stuffing out of the bouncing lead single, “Whatever It Is.” Jewell Brown Taylor returns to lead Ananias Montague’s composition “Faith over Fear,” a brisk handclapper about Jesus always being there to solve our problems. The same sentiment fuels “He’ll Make a Way out of No Way.” Co-written with Ronald Gunn, this propulsive, pounding church-wrecker, led by the husky-voiced Charlotte Lane, is the standout track on an album filled with memorable moments. The album concludes with an equally zippy selection, “When He Comes for Me,” which finds the singers giddy with anticipation for the happiness of eternal life.
“Are You Real,” led and written by Price, asks listeners to consider whether they go to church for the right reasons. “Lord, help us to be real / Not hooked on a feeling,” they pray. The song evokes Kirk Franklin’s technique of having a lead singer make a statement in spoken word and the choir echo the line back in melody. The troupe quotes from Dorsey’s classic gospel “Search Me Lord” in the vamp.
With robust choral arrangements, strong soloists, superb musical support, and very few moments of less than excellent delivery, Do You Know will remind listeners of the great choir albums of the 1980s and early 1990s. Producer Kevin Kelley and the church’s music ministry have created an exceptional debut album.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “He’ll Make a Way out of No Way,” Bless That Wonderful Name”