Author Archives: Bob Marovich

Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions: Vol. 4

Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions Vol. 4 MDGS Records (release date: March 6, 2020) http://michelledavidandthegospelsessions.com/ By Bob Marovich If you didn’t know better, you’d think that the fourth volume of songs by Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions is a long lost vinyl album from the 1970s, but it’s as recent as today’s breakfast. The disc reunites David, born and educated in New York and living in Holland since 1994, with Holland multi-instrumentalists Onno Smit, Toon Oomen, and Paul Willemsen. The album follows and responds to a series of highs and lows for the aggregation. Highs: Volume 3 earned ...

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RIP: Jerome Williams of the Evereadys

By Bob Marovich Sister Ducky, quartet and traditional gospel music correspondent in Detroit, reported the sad news that Jerome Williams of the Evereadys passed away yesterday morning at age 66, allegedly of complications from COVID-19. The history of the Evereadys stretches back to Detroit 1950, when future R&B star Jackie Wilson formed an a cappella gospel group called the Ever Ready Gospel Singers with brothers Lorenzo and Emmanuel Jordan and bass singer Jack Johns. The group was locally popular and toured the Midwest, but when Wilson left to sing R&B, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers disbanded. In 1967, after some ...

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RIP: Archbishop Lucius Hall

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn this morning, via a posting by Pam Morris-Walton and the Chicago Crusader, of the passing of Archbishop Lucius Hall. Archbishop Hall was born and raised in Chicago. Prior to forming his own church, the First Church of Love and Faith, in 1980, on Chicago’s south side, he was associated with the First Church of Deliverance, led by Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs. Hall grew up in First Church and gained renown as its radio announcer. For many years, Hall was heard every Sunday evening on the church’s legendary radio ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 30, 2020

“Without Condition” Ashy Akakpo Independent (release date: February 16, 2020) https://www.ashyakakpo.com By Bob Marovich From North-West London, England, indie gospel artist Ashy Akakpo tests industry waters with her debut single, “Without Condition.” Understated and focused wholly on lyrics about God’s unconditional love, “Without Condition” introduces a young woman who sounds for all the world like an emerging Christian version of Alicia Keys. Don’t think so? Check out the harmony section at the single’s end and get back with me. It’s like we are spying on a late night solo happening on a half-lit church altar. Yes, less is more.

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Greg Harris – Reaching

Greg Harris Reaching KNEntertainment / Sabbath Day Records (release date: January 5, 2020) By Bob Marovich Reaching, the new studio CD by Pastor Greg Harris of Little Rock, Arkansas, features a handful of songs of praise, inspiration, and gratitude sung in several styles by Harris and a small choir. JGM’s introduction to Pastor Harris happened in 2009 with his appearance at the Gospel Music Workshop of America and a subsequent review of his live album from the same year. Reaching demonstrates Harris’s growth as a gospel singer. The two album standouts hearken back to old-fashioned Sunday morning singing. “He’s Coming ...

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Enon Music Group Creates “The Levites Relief Fund” To Support Philadelphia Area Musicians

Enon Music Group Creates Fund To Financially Support Musicians Whose Employment Is Affected By Covid-19 Pandemic Philadelphia, PA — Enon Music Group (EMG) is an independent record label established by Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA. The growing label has supported a diverse and dynamic roster of Stellar Award Nominated artist as well as new and developing artists. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis the world is experiencing, EMG has created a relief fund to support Philadelphia area musicians who have lost employment due to the mandatory closure of churches. EMG has ...

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The Best is Yet to Come – James C. Birdsong Jr.

The Best is Yet to Come: A Testimony of One Young Man’s Redemption. By James C. Birdsong Jr. T & J Publishers, 2017. 362pp. (softcover). ISBN 978-0-9994121-7-6 By Bob Marovich Too often, memoirs written by members of famous families paint a rosy portrait of their lives. Not so in James C. Birdsong Jr.’s earnest The Best is Yet to Come. He is unashamed to talk about the travails he and his family have endured. Indeed, he hopes his tale will help inspire others struggling under similar circumstances. James comes from the Birdsong family that has provided the world such luminaries ...

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“Just One Plague” – Esther Igbekele JP

“Just One Plague” Esther Igbekele JP By Bob Marovich To my knowledge, Nigerian gospel singer Esther Igbekele is the first music minister to release a song about COVID-19. Set to a buoyant West African rhythm, “Just One Plague” is a folk ballad that chronicles the impact Coronavirus has had on the world. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Sports are postponed. Economies are stalled. Governments are humbled. People need to stay a meter apart. Most astonishingly, she points out, the virus has also forced calm in the midst of international violence and political unrest. Ultimately, however, Igbekele commands the virus ...

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Leo V. – Best Love

Leo V. Best Love Independent (release date: 2009) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/leov By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter and musician Leo Valladares, aka Leo V., brings the musical richness of his Latino culture to bear on some of the Christian songs packaged on his 2009 debut CD, Best Love. Teeing up a Latin beat for “Come Away with Me” and “Lost in Love,” Leo twangs notes on the electric guitar in earnest emulation of Carlos Santana. But as a vocalist, Leo evokes a garage band rocker from the 1960s. The team of musicians, which includes Sam Valladares on classical guitar, Eric Robert on keyboards (set ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2020

“Out of This” Jason Williams Paper City Records (release date: March 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Out of This” has one of the smoothest, mellowest grooves I’ve heard in gospel this year. Despite the contemporary setting led by acoustic guitar, the lyrics cut right to the soul like an old church gospel song. “Maybe someone who cared for left you out in the rain,” Jason Williams sings in a baritone straight out of quiet storm programming. “Someone you sent up some prayers for caused you so much pain.” Williams encourages listeners that notwithstanding the personal anguish, “a blessing is coming ...

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