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Various Artists, One CD Cover
Image © 2000 Word Entertainment 

(03 September 2000) Chuck Nelson's various artist compilation One (Word Entertainment (USA) 080688603427, 2000) has been produced to support World Youth Day. The album cover is linked to the official site (but the server is frequently overloaded). Israel Button wrote,"Initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985, by the year 2000, World Youth Day draws approximately two million youth to Rome, Italy. The purpose of World Youth Day is to answer the call for Christian unity, and build up the relationship between youth and the church. Word Records has partnered with the Vatican's World Youth Day committee to help with entertainment and promotion for the event. This compilation disc is a first step in the process, featuring songs that explore issues of unity with Christ and with others."

Both male and female vocalists are featured. Twelve tracks by a broad selection of secular recording artists spans an equally vast spectrum of Christian contemporary styles. The CD features selections by an all star lineup including: Rachael Lampa, Aaron Neville, Sixpence None the Richer, Máire Brennan, Booley, Winans Phase 2, Burlap to Cashmere, Jaci Valasquez, Gabriel's Harp, A Ragamuffin Band, Cindy Morgan, Luis Fonsi and Salvador. The song "Emmanuel" is the official theme song of the World Youth Day 2000; two versions are included within the album—one entirely in English and the other in Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese (we think!). Both are sweetly sung tender ballads led by male and supported by female vocals.

We most enjoyed the contemporary rocking tune "Heart Of Every Man" by Gabriel's Harp. Sweetly sung female backing vocals contrast the male lead and instrumentals perfectly. The pop rock tune "Love" is a moving remix by Sixpence None The Richer dominated by electric guitar. Leigh Nash's sweetly sung vocal part is especially enjoyable; vocalise in the orchestrally arranged chorus demonstrates her true virtuosity. The album's token Celtic-oriented track is a classic Máire Brennan ballad with a lovely calling whistle part entitled "Peace Has Broken Out." Her stunning performance illustrates why she is one of the top Irish female singers today (review).

Salvador's "Ain't It Good" is one of the album's Latin tunes. They have a great brass section which contrasts well with the song's keyboard parts. "Basic Instructions" by Burlap To Cashmere also has a latin flavour—an upbeat track, it works quite well. The rhythm and texture of A Ragamuffin Band's "Il Tuo Strumento" is quite Brazilian especially with the symphonic instrumental arrangements. The album's only R&B-oriented tune is "It's Alright" by Winans Phase 2.

Tender ballads include Rachael Lampa's emotional "There Is Still A Dream" performed with Aaaron Neville and the highly evocative and sweetly sung "With Me" by Jaci Velasquez. "The Last Supper" is a ballad performed as a duet by Cindy Morgan and Luis Fonsi to light accompaniment, primarily provided by acoustic guitar. Morgan is a wonderful vocalist with a sweet and sensitive voice; we'd certainly like to hear some more of her music.

You can find further reviews, listen to sound samples and order One from amazon.com here. Clearly with the tracks spanning a vast range of styles and featuring contributions from some excellent performing artists the album is worth further exploration. Check out the online samples and let us know if you agree. We think it's a very nice listen!

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