I'll Say Yes (Live)
With absolutely nothing to prove, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir continued doing what it does best with I'll Say Yes, its 26th recording and first for worship music giant Integrity Music. Perhaps because of this new partnership, choirmaster Carol Cymbala went ahead and cherry-picked the baker's dozen tunes contained on I'll Say Yes, some of which are easily the choir's most congregationally accessible yet. That means the songs aren't all about the dynamic singing troupe, but also about the parishioners gathered for the live recording, who appear to have a great time singing along to gospel-pop arrangements of songs from the likes of Chris Tomlin ("Holy Is the Lord"), Darlene Zschech ("Worthy Is the Lamb"), and Kurt Carr ("I Never Lost My Praise") — all of them church music veterans in their own right. On more than one occasion, Cymbala goes back to performance mode, and that's when I'll Say Yes is robbed of some of its appeal, not because the songs lack spirit or passion, but because they hinge on repetition and pomp to leave an imprint. Live in the sanctuary this grandness may go over well, but on record it tends to make the experience drag a bit. But then again, that's nothing new: opulence and extravagance have always been hallmarks of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. They may be more worshipful this time around, but in essence, I'll Say Yes is yet another helping of exactly what Cymbala and her minstrels have been offering listeners for more than three decades.