Daryl Coley 

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