The Stewarts
Back To Roots: In Memory of Rev. E. Stewart

This one is a treat.

In honor of the late Rev. Elvin E Stewart Sr. of The Stewart Singers, SIC Records has issued a memorial project, Back To Roots, that brings in some of the CDhottest talent in Texas, and also features production and vocals from Kim Burrell.

Burrell also plays piano and organ on the project, joining with ‘big state’ favorite Shawn McLemore. Spanky Williams tags the drums.

Singer / preacher Rev. E. Stewart drew enthusiastic responses with his honest, straight-forward style. Together with his singing family, his two previous projects include the award-winning debut from 1997, titled I Believe.

The project kicks off with severe rhythm drives on “Everything I Need” —the last song recorded by Rev. Stewart, put to wax the day before his passing in November 2002. It’s classic, quality quartet. “Can’t Tell It All” follows, another one of the last cuts recorded by Stewart.

“Never Alone” has Luther Barnes stepping in to deliver warm vocals on lead, satisfying all (see album review).

Burrell adds a slightly contemporary flair to the project on “Try Jesus”, an invitational that features her unmistakealbe voice alone, stacked backing vocals included. She also
Kim Burrell
Click for review Click on the album cover for the Kim Burrell review.
steps into “O When I Come”, a song steeped in traditional vibes. Burrell demonstrates her incredible vocal talent here as well.

On the all-together anthem titled “A Family that Prays Together”, Burrell joins with the Kelvin and Melvin Stewart in reminiscing of Rev. Stewart and telling of the power of prayer in a family setting.

Spanky Williams takes vocal lead on “Friend of Mine”, testifying of Rev. Stewart’s God-honoring life over a pulsing drum track. Williams is also up front on the prayerful “Send Your Anointing”.

Bishop Darrell McFadden guests on “Thank You”, a slowly meandering composition that relies on some fine guitar work to convey the reflective, bluesy atmosphere. Rev. James Spellman's deep, resonant vocals highlight both “I’m Blessed” and “”One Moment To Be Saved”.

The album fittingly concludes with a tribute titled “Memory Lives On”. Shawn McLemore produces, writes and sings, imparting his soulful touch to the song, honoring both God and His servant, Rev. E. Stewart.

Producer: Kim Burrell
album release date: June, 2003
SIC Records

— review by Stan North

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