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ChitChat: "Moving Forward" by Hezekiah or Israel?

I looooooove Israel’s latest project, The Power Of One, and I know I’ve made that crystal clear since before its release.  I love practically every track and it, as a whole, has blessed me tremendously.

Since its release, I’ve heard A LOT of people reference “Moving Forward,” which he co-wrote with Ricardo Sanchez.  They’ve talked about how much they love it, how much of a blessing it is, how it’s encouraging them, etc.  Glass Tea Sets And I concur.

But what’s interesting to me is that less than 5 months before Israel’s album came out, Hezekiah Walker released Souled Out, which not only features the SAME song, but also features Ricardo Sanchez on lead vocals.  Few people are going ga-ga over Hezekiah’s version, if they even know about it at all.

So, my mental wheels started churning and I have a coupla questions for ya…

1.  Did you know that Hezekiah Walker had just done the same song?

2.  If so, which version do you enjoy more and why?  Is it about the style of the song– more acoustic/solo (Israel) vs. band/choir (Hezekiah)?

And the big one…

3.  Honestly, don’t you feel that some folks will automatically consider Israel’s version “legitimate” over Hezekiah Walker’s version?  If so, why is that?!

In my opinion, I think that we, as gospel consumers, don’t always “buy it” when more traditional gospel artists experiment with songs that have a hint of CCM in them.  If they’re known for foot-stompin’ and shoutin’, we don’t believe artists when they try to broaden their musical horizons…

But is that fair?

Lemme know what you think.

  • Darnell

    I know nothing about Israel’s version, but I know I enjoy the Hez version considering that I don’t like the Hez project. 4 or 5 good songs. Not gonna cut it for me.

  • Aaron

    I like the Israel/Ricardo Sanchez version MUCH better. Hez’s version doesn’t really do it for me.

  • Mylum

    I knew Hez had done it before, but I definitely prefer Israel’s version. Hez tried to force it into a choir song and it lost something in translation. In addition, Israel’s vocals are a LOT cleaner than Ricardo Sanchez. I think people could have considered Hez’s version legitimate if he had done it THE EXACT WAY Israel did it. The background vocals were waaay to busy for what the song was trying to convey. Just my personal opinion.

  • Moe

    Very good point you raise about this song. Here is my take on it:

    I definitely think the song is GREAT. I heard a church in Baltimore do it some time earlier this year and it messed that church up. This song ushered in the presence of God in a ridiculous (<–means good) way!!! Then I searched for the song on YouTube and found the video of Israel sing it at his church (Lakewood) with the guy from Anointed leading it. That version was great too, especially cause Israel infused it with another classic worship song.

    On comes the Hez version, which I thought captured that same experience I had when I heard the folks at the church in Baltimore sing it. That dude Ricardo Sanchez murdered that song. His ability to lead folks into the presence of God is crazy (and that was my first time hearing him lead worship). For me to say what I just said is BIG because I am traditionally not a fan of CCM (i.e., I’m the kind of guy who needs that “Across the Aisle” section of this website cause I really don’t vibe with it), but that Ricardo is great!

    Then I grabbed the Israel cd and heard his version of the song. I really wasn’t impressed because I heard the Heze version and it wasn’t as good to me.

    To put it in perspective to your questions, its clear I heard the Heze version first. Also, I am not a “choir” kind of guy. But I feel like the instrumentation on that version (Heze) is ridiculous, plus its “live.” Live versions of songs almost always capture more of the unplugged worship of a song. Like the Heze joint starts off with Ricardo speaking in tongues, where if Israel did the same on his version, you wouldn’t have heard it because it was a studio version. With that said, typically Israel could sing a song about “God being as good as snickers” with a acoustic guitar and it would mess me up (I think that’s true for so many other ppl). It’s just something about that acoustic vibe that just pulls on your soul, but his (Israel) version of the song just didn’t do it for me.

    Finally, both versions are legitimate, but most folks feel like anything Israel does musically will always be great and better than any other version of the same song put out by another artist. And that is typically true seeing that he has put out so many live cds. But on this cd “Power of One” it reminds you of his first cd “Real”; great music, but isn’t as good as it would be if you heard it live.

    I wrote a lot (and this is my first post, but I have been reading the site for a while), but seeing this topic forced me to respond because I have had this discussion with gospel and ccm lovers alike.


  • Calvin B.

    I like both versions!!! But if I had to choose I would definitely go with Isreal’s version A. Lindsey is my dude and you can’t beat T. Simms with production and creativity. I would perform both though, one for the Praise team and the other for the Sanctuary Choir!!!! Lol.

  • jones

    I heard hezzies version first and loved the live aspect and the choir vocal on the vamp. Isreals version was a little more clean and the production was on point especially when they went into that little inverted part on the vamp. So I would have to go isreal.

    With that being said I must say i’m SICK of hearing that song covered. I went to four different services one weekend (long story)and heard that song played three times at three different locations. No joke. Is it just me or is it getting played out already.

  • Tyrone

    I have all 3 cds. I heard the song 1st with Hez. I prefer Hez version.

    @jones I agree with you. I like the choir vocals better.

    This song is getting MAD recogniton at churches but anything Israel touches has that effect. Most of Israel songs usually on 3 or 4 cds including his. By the way, Ricardo’s cd is good.

  • michael

    this a great song and i like how both artist presented it in a totally
    diff way i love both version…but of course we lean towards
    israel cause the man just knows how to change an atmosphere

    and i hate when people hate on artist for expanding their horizens
    ill take a “CCM” song any day their seem more sincere
    i dont need no runs no riffs just singing
    ok i think i strayed into another topic sorry

  • Grant

    Great blog, EJ.

    It should also be noted that the ORIGINAL version is not from either one of these albums.

    “Moving Forward” was co-written by Israel & Ricardo Sanchez and first appeared on the 2007 Integrity Music release “Moving Forward” from “Jentzen Franklin presents Free Chapel LIVE with Ricardo Sanchez”.

    I like Hez’s version and love Israel’s, but find that the Free Chapel Live version strikes the perfect balance between the other 2. It is live, so you have the live worship vibe flowing, but it is also produced really well (by Israel), so it’s not too loose. Check it out here

  • Gale-Ann

    “Grant” pretty much said what I wanted to say. I like all three versions of the song, but the one done at Free Chapel gets more play time on my ipod.

  • Dwayne Lacy

    Well Grant already said what I was going to say. LOL! EJ, you are doing are GREAT job!!!!! I love this sight!

  • Aarika

    I actually didn’t know that this song had been covered so many times. It’s a great song so I could see why others would want to record it. The first time that I heard it was on Israel’s cd and I really like his version. After listening to the Hez and Free Chapel versions, I believe that I prefer Free Chapel.

  • Addie

    Ricardo Sanchez and Israel Houghton wrote the song and both have sung it many times and included on two different cds. The writer can interpret their own better than anyone else. However Hezekiah adds a feeling to it that does something to me!

  • RW

    The song is awesome and is somewhat the theme song for the Forward Youth Conference (Free Chapel, Jentezen Franklin), held each summer at the Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta. I know that I am commenting on an old post, but just wanted to clarify that the Free Chapel version of “Moving Forward” (2007 Integrity Music release) was recorded live with not only Richardo Sanchez but also with Israel Houghton and Pastor Jentezen Franklin as part of the project. The musicians were from over the globe. I was there and it was absolutely a lifechanging event. Great site, keep up the work!

  • greenez

    I heard Hez's version first and past it on to my family. They have heard both and some of my family and I have seen Israel recently perform it live at church. I like both but my favorite version is Hezikiah's. I love it. It isn't the same as Israel's.
    It seems to take me to a more intimacy with Christ that I don't seem to get with Israel's. I think because of the audiance… I am not sure, however the message is the same
    .Praise and Blessing be to God for He is worthy of the praise.

  • Greeneze

    Ok, I heard it first on Hezekiah’s Souled Out I heard it on the radio and quicly went to our local Christian bookstore and purchased the CD. Immediately I was brought to tears, and gave all praises and thanksgiving to the Lord.

    Personally this is my favorite of all of the versions. It’s the best of all of the IMHO. I shared it with my son in law and he told me he loved it.

    Lots of people I ask don’t know that his was out B4 Isreal’s version. Do you know who Ricardo Sanchez wrote it for orginally?

    Blessings, to you all in the name of Jesus Christ