Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Sweet Inspirations by Sista Monica

Sweet Inspirations cover art

Artist: Sista Monica
Title: Sweet Inspirations
Catalogue Number: Mo’ Muscle MMRE4084
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2008

The artist formerly known as "The Lioness of the Blues", Sista Monica Parker has released a mainstream gospel album with "Sweet Inspiration".

A cast of thousands seems to have been involved (there's a page of credits and two pages of thank yous on the album inner sleeve) and the choice of songs, probably for that reason, seems unimaginative. Let's pick a few. For example,"You'll Never Walk Alone" has been a stalwart in modern churches for decades. John Lennon's "Imagine" is an easy one to reinterpret as a gospel tune. Fellow gospel singer Shirley Caesar's "This Joy" suits Sista Monica's style well unlike the rather pedestrian, and somewhat awkward, version of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds". Her take on "Let it Be", however, is respectful and convincing and the downright funky "Living the Spirit" - the horns are arranged by no less than Fred Wesley on this one - is truly uplifting and easily the best track on the album.

This album is slickly produced modern gospel but it seems a touch soulless. Maybe it has been polished too much for it never really soared up to the heavens. I dug out an old gospel album from Aretha and the music contained therein could barely be contained by the speakers. Now the same emotional limiting can also be found on other recent gospel albums that I have heard recently but I was hoping for more here from Sista Monica Parker given her pedigree. No doubt these songs will have their audience but is this the album to convert you? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Available from CD Baby.
Review Date: November 9 2008