Author Archives: Bob Marovich

JGM Pick of the Week: April 6, 2020

“In His Hands” Uncle Chucc & the Zion Messengers Uncle Chucc Music (release date: April 1, 2020) By Bob Marovich When Tyler Perry asked individuals to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in a show of global solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed to come out of nowhere. The spiritual, first published in 1927, entered international pop culture thirty years later when English singer Laurie London recorded it. Not to be outdone, Mahalia Jackson put out a single version. Like London’s disc, Jackson’s climbed up the pop charts. The song has been featured here and there, ...

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RIP: Reverend Eddie Hunter of the Alabama Spirituals

By Bob Marovich This pandemic has wrecked havoc on the music community. JGM just learned of another soldier gone: the Reverend Eddie Hunter, singer with the Alabama Spirituals of Alexander City, Alabama. He succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Born March 13, 1952, Rev. Hunter served as Pastor of Miracle Missionary Baptist Church in Alexander City, Alabama. He was also the president of the Northeast District State Convention of the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention. He had just celebrated his 68th birthday. Please keep Reverend Hunter’s family, congregation, friends, and many fans at the top of your prayer ...

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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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