Madame Andrews possesses a heavenly voice that's mightier than Goliath yet as supple as Halle Berry's skin. Known as the "Gospel Queen of Denver" -- a title that she says was bestowed upon her by the Lord through a divine communiqué -- she has spent a couple of decades as a musical healer, both as a member of the Heavenly Echoes gospel quartet and as a singer who entertains residents in local retirement homes. Radio listeners may recognize her as the host of Gospel Chime, which airs Sundays from 7 to 9 a.m. on KGNU 88.5/FM.
Now Andrews has released (I've Got to) Make Up for the Time I Lost, possibly the happiest recording ever made in Colorado. A collection of both new and traditional gospel tunes, the album provides a glimpse of what the old-school house band in heaven might sound like.
Harmonica ace Clay Kirkland (who pops up on the Andrews composition "I Claim Jesus") and the Reverend Charles Jackson, who lends his hefty organ chops throughout, add huge doses of drama to Time. But the most stirring moments come from Andrews herself, whose palpable sunniness infuses every measure of this disc, from "Lord, I Want to Be a Christian" -- a smoldering duet that pairs Jackson's watery, gurgling organ fills against Andrews's tinkling piano and expressions of faith -- to the title track, an old-time-religion ode complete with a revival-meeting beat.
Salvation never sounded so appealing, so downright genuine. In one of Time's many heart-pumping moments, Andrews informs listeners that when her mother "used to sing to her eternal king/It was a song the happy angels just loved to hear her sing." All hail Denver's Gospel Queen for carrying on the family tradition. (To order a copy of Time I Lost, send $10 to Madame Andrews, P.O. Box 7101, Denver, CO 80207.)