Pastor David Wright &
N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir (Next Generation)
Clap Your Hands
Godfather Records (release date: April 19, 2016)
By Bob Marovich
When Pastor David Wright speaks of his father on the second of the two-CD N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir recordings done in June 2013, he is referring to the late Reverend Timothy Wright, Godfather of Gospel Music, renowned for his dynamic ensembles and choirs.
Brimming with new songs written in the traditional style, Clap Your Hands demonstrates that the Wright family tradition is alive and well.
The album is bookended by two up-tempo church wreckers. The title track riffs on the Biblical Gospel Singers’ “I Come to Praise Him,” with Tiffany Woodside offering a fervent lead. “Crown Him” finds Patricia Gibbs, Alton Parks, and Wright fronting the 180-voice N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir on a sizzling celebration of God’s majesty.
Messages of encouragement resonate throughout the album, particularly on “Through It All,” “God’s Grace,” “Have Thine Way” (a Hawkins Family-esque piece) and “I Will Endure.” The latter is a simmering blockbuster ideal for gospel radio. Opening with an emotional testimony, “I Will Live” is another ballad of note; it reasons that when you are so low that you contemplate ending your life, the power of God’s word will restore you and keep you alive.
“You Are Worthy” is a high-energy praiser that works because it breaks out melodically and lyrically from the conventional P&W format. Although not credited as such in the album notes, “The Blood” is a re-arrangement of Andrae’ Crouch’s “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.”
The N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir is an accomplished aggregation with an intense East Coast sound. It supports a battery of soloists, including Danielle Kelley, Rubenstein McClure, and Tiffany Woodside. Think of the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir albums of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and you have a good sense of what Clap Your Hands sounds like.
The project demonstrates that Pastor David Wright is hitting his stride as heir to his father’s rich legacy.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “Clap Your Hands,” “I Will Live,” “I Will Endure.”