The Very Best of Sounds of Blackness & Ann Nesbyby Sounds of Blackness
Up until the time of The Very Best of Sounds of Blackness' release in late 2001, you headed straight to Evolution of Gospel if you wanted to hear Sounds of Blackness. That album had the group's biggest hits -- "Optimistic," "Testify," and "The Pressure" -- songs that not only scaled the R&B charts but partly defined an era. And, for many listeners, this was all the Sounds of Blackness they needed. Yet to write off the post-Evolution of Gospel Sounds of Blackness would be a mistake. Granted, the group never did deliver anything that would measure up to "Optimistic." However, they did come close. The group's 1994 follow-up, Africa to America, also featured Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as producers as Evolution of Gospel did. So, as a result, there's no shortage of great moments on that album, many of which are featured here. In fact, the bulk of this best-of comes from Africa to America. And while Sounds of Blackness' other albums for the Perspective label -- The Night Before Christmas and Time for Healing -- are ignored for the most part, that's not such a bad thing -- they aren't particularly impressive albums and their absence makes more room for selections from Evolution of Gospel and Africa to America. There's also a soundtrack contribution here from the 1992 Mo' Money soundtrack, "Joy," another Jam and Lewis production. It's this emphasis on the group's work with Jam and Lewis that takes center stage on this best-of and rightfully so -- Sounds of Blackness never sounded quite as impressive without Janet Jackson's trademark producers behind the boards. So, even if this best-of leans heavily toward the Jam and Lewis productions, you really can't complain.
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On 9/11, each of us saw our True Nature - that part of us that is connected to God - we saw our own Spirits. And even better, we saw the Spirit of God in one another. That's what the Sounds of Blackness teach - God is within us, God is within each and every person ever born. Rather than finding fault as the various religions teach - the Sounds of Blackness looks at each of us as we truly are - Possibilities - nothing less. The Value of each and every Soul is priceless - Mother Teresa saw in in the eyes of "the poorist of the poor", Dr. Martin Luther King saw it when he spoke of the time when little black children and little white children would play together, Lady Diana saw it in the faces of those who had AIDS or those who had been injured by leftover field bombs that hurt the unsuspecting. Those same lessons are what Jesus saw when he told us the most important lesson was to Love and Forgive your neighbors, and equally important, to Love and Forgive yourself. This is what Sounds of Blackness teach through their words - we are each moving forward, and as we help others in their own march, we make it easier for everyone else. That is HUMANITY - that is GOD!!!