Best Days Yet
Without a doubt, we were sold. As for the primary artist, Bishop Richard "Mr. Clean" White said it best, "Paul Morton? Oh yeah, he can sing the alphabet backwards and still get people to shout".
The title cut, "Best Days Yet", penned by Donald Lawrence, opens the set and is pure fire. This could clearly be the antiphonal "choral response" to Lawrence's "The Best is Yet to Come". Jules Bartholomew ("God Favored Me", "Faithful Is Our God") contributes "It's Over" with its inimitable NY groove to it. This song is the Roman Candle in the fireworks barn.
Have a preacher sing about the blood of JESUS!!!!! Here, Paul Morton displays the fact that he is a Spirit-filled singer. When the vamp gets to the rapid-fire double time of the background vocals against Morton's ad lib (giving his list of things that are now over), he just lets out the sanctified yell (if you don't believe me, listen around 2:19 of the cut and see for yourself). Morton has a preacher moment where he "feels his help" and announces "I'm about to shout". The praises ensue and he is in the zone trying to get a witness and shaking hands with the deacons as he declares "I KNOW its over", the song comes to an end.
As a contrast, PJ Morton's "Things are Changing" is butter. PJ had to grow up listening to Michael McDonald, because this song fits that vein so well. Coupled with the smooth styling of Marvin Winans with PJ on background vocals, its very easy to get lost in the arrangement, so you will more than likely need to listen to the song again to hear the words. PJ Morton continues his tribute to 70s soul singers with his Staple Singers-esque "Take My Hand" (obviously Mavis wasn't available to say chumon). The family song "The Promise" (featuring sister Jasmine, Bishop Morton and PJ) is a deliberate attempt to make you eat carpet and do the ugly cry and it almost got us. (He promised never to leave you alone. What a promise!!)
There is a cover of Kurt Carr's "Something Happens", recorded live to make your hair stand up. Trust and believe its only preparation for the most anticipated song on the project, "The Grass Withereth" (and yes, we're talking about the Thomas Whitfield/Karen Clark Sheard one). The tempo is changed and Sheard opens the number only to be matched pound for pound by Bishop Morton. I'm not sure, but I think Bishop Morton passed out during the vocal sparring because Karen Clark Sheard brings this one home.
Looking for stirring and poignant and powerful? Its here too, as you hear Kevon Carter's "God Will Get the Glory" out of this and PJ's "Go Through". Ted Winn contributes the other groove on "The Curse is Broken" and the album closes with Winn's "The Best Is Yet To Come" featuring Rudolph Stanfield on piano (a fitting tribute to Detroit Gospel). Stanfield causes us to have a nostalgic Tommy Whitfield moment as he ends his instrumental with an interpolation of "Always Remember Jesus".
You really can't pick a favorite song, as they are all bonafide hits. Well, Bishop Morton, we don't know what else is in store, but we know Best Days Yet is simply tops in our book.
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— review by Gregory Gay —
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