Kirk Franklin And The Family: Kirk Franklin, David Mann, Elder Jonathan Drummond, Dalon Collins, Byron Cole, Minister Darrell Blair, Tommy Colter, Duwan Stalings, Sheila Brice, Ramona White, Nelda Washington, Terri Pace, Carrie Young-Davis, Kiesha Grandie, Tamela Mann, Janette Williams, Demetrius "Dee" Hereford, Yolanda McDonald, Teresa Young, Cassandra Cleveland-Robertson.
Additional personnel: Jerome Harmon, Bobby Sparks (keyboards); Jerome Allen (bass); Eric Morgan (drums); Anthony Thomas.
Recorded live at Grace Temple Church, Fort Worth, Texas on July 25, 1992. Includes liner notes by Drew Dawson.
The young Kirk Franklin deftly leads his Family through inspirational and uplifting gospels. Recorded live at the Grace Temple Church in Fort Worth, Texas, Kirk preaches to and leads his devoted followers through positive musical sermons driven by his lyric "I sing because I'm happy! I sing because I'm free...Jesus...you're the reason why I sing."
Obviously, the themes are all religious, and from "He's Able" to "He Can Handle It," there is no doubt as to who is running the show. In "Silver And Gold," the theme is "I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold"; on "Real Love," it is "will you ever love somebody the way that Jesus loves you?"
Kirk steps aside and allows other featured vocalists take the spotlight, and they are equally talented. The killer female chorus on "Call The Lord" might even have atheists testifying. Cassandra Cleveland, Sheila Rice, Dallon Collins, Teresa Young and the others are all powerful singers.
The rafter-raising songs have more of a contemporary pop/R&B edge than a blues/spiritual influence; there's even a Calypso song, and a rap that ends with the rousing shout-along "Go Jesus, Go Jesus Go!" There's a certain power commanded by gospel music, and in Kirk Franklin's case the vehicle he's driving is a slick brand of Jesus, Rhythm & Blues.