Baylor's My Everything: A Vocal Tour-de-force
- 2002 4 Feb
By Mark Weber
If you haven't heard of Helen Baylor, now is the time to pick up her new R&B/gospel disc, My Everything. She's an underestimated vocal tour-de-force, especially on Lord, You're Holy.
Weaving between elegant supper club music and all-out rock-n-roll, Lord, You're Holy is a triumphant ode to the Lord. Cymbals crash as the song sweeps you up into an intensifying beat, with ecstatic proclamations about His holy name. Adjectives like "wonderful," "glorious," "victorious," and "mighty" follow one after the other in a torrent of praise. You'll find yourself really feelin' Lord, You're Holy if you allow the powerful beat and lyrics to infiltrate your spirit. The song alone is worth the price of the whole CD.
It's been five years since Baylor's last studio release, and her return is long overdue. Imagine Gladys Knight, dance diva Martha Wash, Babbie Mason and CeCe Winans combined into one vocalist. Throw in a few dance songs (Take It Up), and well-written R&B/gospel tunes, and you've got a recipe for success. Take note: Listen for Helen Baylor's name in the news because My Everything has Dove/Stellar/Grammy award-winning potential.
Besides a duet with Marvin Winans, Baylor also finds herself singing with label mate Bob Carlisle on the danceable Harambee. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two singers, as they emote with similar-sounding, soulful vocals on this upbeat R&B track co-written by Nicole C. Mullen's husband, David.
The classic James Taylor hit How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) gets dusted off and given new meaning on My Everything, as Baylor sings from the heart about how sweet it is to be loved by ... Jesus. The result? A pleasant remake with a good groove.
One of the co-writers of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is none other than Aaron Neville. Too bad he doesn't lend his trademark falsetto on Jesus, though Baylor deftly holds her own handling the funky beat.
Outside These Walls is a rallying cry to churchgoers. The ballad challenges you not to forget those who are lonely, searching or hurting outside the church walls. Radio should play Walls.
Though Baylor does not write much of her own material, she did co-write It's Okay To Cry, which says it's okay to cry over your problem tonight because tomorrow's light will bring joy. Fair enough. Though the lyrics are cliche-ridden, many people will still relate and be encouraged to press on after hearing It's Okay To Cry.
Helen Baylor is the type of artist worthy of promotion. Good songs, lyrically and musically, mixed with her rich, consistently heartfelt vocals make My Everything one of the best discs of 2002 so far. If you like R&B/soul, this disc is a must have.