by Jamie Lee Rake
Live in Oakland-
Home Again Daryl Coley
To call Daryl Coley a gospel singer is to be incomplete about his art.
Singing about the Lord and getting gospel radio play distinguishes Coley
as a gospel artist. The vocal curves he throws from his sweetly expressive
tenor could qualify him as a jazz singer. As with Coley albums before this,
the many facets of his talent expressed in literate, reverent lyrics is
the draw of Live in Oakland,Home Again.
Getting a crowd in a spirited mood with an uptempo praise tune, "I
Will Bless Your Name," is how Coley begins. A duet on "Don't Give Up on
Jesus" with Vanessa Bell Armstrong follows, the spiritual challenge of
the song mirroring the vocal challenge Armstrong provides. It gets him
to sink into the grit of his lower register
Then comes some seriously mellow jazziness. Building from the metaphorical
story song of "Removal of the Mask," the vibe continues with "That Special
Place" and climaxes with a doctrinal samba,"His Love."Even here, as he
saucily bends those blue notes, he gets in a hard gospel "huh!" or two,
His choir comes back into the fore from a few songs ago for "Jesus Saves"
and "I Will Sing Glory," where soulful, smooth commercial jazz flavor a
la, The Rippingtons or Yellowjackers pervades. Again, Coley kicks in finesse
that wouldn't normally accompany such grooves.
Home Again's second half finds Coley in more traditional gospel settings...for
a while. Just when one might think he's going to stick to familiar gospel
roads on "Thank You, Lord" and "What He's Done for Me," he makes worthwhile
detours. For example, "Acapella Praise (Even Me)" successfully brings together
the highs of his jazz and strictly gospel tendencies for a rousing worship
testimony (even if it's not truly a capella).
Throughout the vocal artistry, a sense of humility in Coley's song
selection and persona shines through. He may sing of doing all things through
Christ and the assurance in that promise, but there is equal due given
to the sacrifice paid for that confidence.
Reprinted by permission, CCM Magazine