CD Review: Ivan Parker – Dancing In The Rain

CD Review: Ivan Parker – Dancing In The Rain

IvanLabel: Difference Media
Producer/Arranger: Garry Jones
Artist Website: CLICK HERE
SGHistory Page: CLICK HERE
Song Titles: “Dancing In The Rain;” “That’s What Love Does;” “Jesus Plus Nothing;” “There Is Healing;” “He’ll Do It Again;” “Mama’s Rocking Chair” (featuring Sandy Parker); “Jesus Built This Church On Love;” “Let Me Take You To The Cross;” “Walk My Way” (featuring Canton Junction);” “A Little More Like You”
Rating (scale of 1-5 Stars): 4 Stars

2016 begins a new chapter for Ivan Parker. From 2003 to 2015, he released nine CDs on the Horizon Records label. Dancing In The Rain is his first product since making the shift to Difference Media earlier this year. The shift in record labels meant a shift in producers. Parker enlisted another Gold City alumnus, Garry Jones, to handle production, arrangement & piano duties for Dancing In The Rain. The CD is due at retail outlets on July 29.

Looking at the extensive list of credits, I’d say Dancing In The Rain required a larger budget than Parker’s last few recordings at Horizon. Compared to last year’s Threads Of Mercy, though, which featured a couple of light jazz arrangements to complement Parker’s usual range of styles, there’s not as much variety.

Speaking of variety, two songs on Dancing In The Rain feature guest vocals, which is never a bad idea on a solo CD. “Mama’s Rocking Chair” (Lee Black/Charles Aaron Wilburn) includes the voice of Sandy Hagee Parker (who happens to be Parker’s daughter-in-law), while “Walk My Way” (Janice Crow) adds the combined vocals of Canton Junction. It’s too bad Sandy Parker was limited to chiming in on a few lines on the chorus rather than being elevated to equal duet status. The song could have been stronger. Canton Junctions gets a few exposed lines on their track, but again, they’re mostly providing background vocals.

Parker typically covers a gospel classic on each release, and Dancing In The Rain is no exception. I enjoyed hearing “Jesus Built This Church On Love” (Joel Hemphill). Changing keys going into the third chorus, and then shifting to a double time rhythm for the fourth chorus carries the momentum right up to the end. It’s a great piece of arranging. That being said, I’m puzzled as to why Parker sang “the door wide open” (rather than “door’s”) on the first two choruses, and even more puzzled that it wasn’t caught and corrected before the final mix was approved. (He goes back to “door’s” after the key change.)

“That’s What Love Does” (Sue C. Smith/Gina Vera) and “Let Me Take You To The Cross” (Rodney Griffin/Sue C. Smith) are both heavily orchestrated, slower tracks. The mix has dulled the high frequencies a bit too much on these, but the solid lyrical content and Parker’s delivery should combine to make both of these songs favorites for his fans.

The best selection from the slower tracks is the worshipful “A Little More Like You” (Robert Sterling). This is a perfect song of commitment. On the quicker tracks, “Jesus Plus Nothing” (Jason Wayne Cox/Marty Funderburk) has a narrow lead over “Walk My Way.” Both are nice stylistic sequels to Parker’s 2015 radio single, “Till The Shackles Fall Off” and should be effective in concert.

Overall Rating
4 out of 5

4

Good
4 out of 5
Category CD Reviews, Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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