As I continue to celebrate Black Music Month, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a staple in Black heritage: gospel music.
Listening to the Hawkins Family, Mega 3 is a blast from the past for me. It includes the complete tracks from albums “Love Alive”, “Love Alive II”, and “Love Alive III”. This compilation is the result of collaborations between Pastor/Singer/Songwriter, Walter Hawkins and his brother, singer/musician, Edwin Hawkins. When their first album hit back in the 70’s, it was a refreshing blend of traditional gospel and soul stirring vocals all backed up by a capable choir and an accomplished band of musicians. It is important to note that each album is a live recording, a concert in the style of the “midnight musicals” I used to attend back when I was an eager and youthful choir member. You actually feel as if you are there, singing along and “catching the spirit”.
Where do I begin? Lets’s start with first Love Alive offering. Many slow ballads for quiet time or mediation such as “Follow Me”, “Dear Jesus I Love You”, “I Love The Lord”, and “Changed” sung by the incomparable Tramaine Hawkins.
Love Alive II picks up the pace with “Come By Here, Good Lord, and continues lifting spirits with the upbeat “Until I Found the Lord.” What separates Hawkins’ genius from other gospel choirs is their ability to reprise the chorus, prolonging the joyous rapture and allowing talented backup singers to echo the lead. This creates an exhilarating atmosphere which encourages all listeners to participate and sing along—even while listening at home!
Love Alive III includes the rousing “He’ll Bring You Out”, rounding out a truly inspiring collection. Though this disc contains earlier work, the Hawkins clan recorded several additional albums and continued touring the country until founder, Walter Hawkins’ death in 2010.
Not included in this compilation is my favorite, “Thank You” from Love Alive IV and Walter Hawkins final testimony, “Marvelous”, from Love Alive V. The smooth jazz favorite, “What is this?” was recorded on The Hawkins Family album. In my opinion, there is enough material from these CDs for another Mega 3 collection. Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed!