Author Archives: Bob Marovich

JGM Pick of the Week: February 14, 2017

“Testify” James Douglas feat. LeJuene Thompson From the forthcoming project Still I Praise https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jamesdouglas42 It could be intimidating for some artists to have a fiery singer like LeJuene Thompson on their single, but James Douglas proves an equally effective vocalist on “Testify.” “Testify” is as it sounds: despite having his name scandalized, despite going through the fire and the flood, and even despite the prospect of “throwing in the towel,” which in context sounds like a contemplation of suicide, Douglas declares that every time, God “made a way somehow.” Moaning her way into the song’s vamp, Thompson gives her testimony ...

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Franklin, Scott Among Winners at 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards

Here’s the rundown on Gospel Music / Christian Contemporary Music winners this weekend at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards: Best Gospel Performance/Song: “God Provides” – Tamela Mann (Kirk Franklin, songwriter) Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “Thy Will” – Hilary Scott & the Scott Family (Bernie Herms, Hillary Scott, and Emily Weisband, songwriters) Best Gospel Album: Losing My Religion – Kirk Franklin Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Love Remains – Hilary Scott & the Scott Family Best Roots Gospel Album: Hymns – Joey + Rory Additionally, Pastor Shirley Caesar was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Tamela Mann and Kirk Franklin ...

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RIP: Tommie TommyGunn1965 Gunn, Gospel Songwriter, Producer

From a press release: True aficionados of contemporary gospel will count among their favorites gospel greats like Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Martha Munizzi, Commissioned, Darwin Hobbs, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, etc. What some fans may fail to realize is that one of the greatest sonic architects of the genre was Tommie TommyGunn1965 Walker with more than 4 million in song sales to his credit. Sadly, Tommie passed away on February 3, 2017, at 51 years of age, surrounded by family. Tommie passed away after failing to emerge from a medically induced coma brought on by ...

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Phil Thornton on WOW Gospel 2017: “A Source of Hope and Inspiration”

By Bob Marovich What does it take to compile an annual survey of the Best of the Best in gospel music? Phil Thornton knows. As Senior Vice President and General Manager for RCA Inspiration, which just released WOW Gospel 2017, the latest in a twenty-year string of two-CD samplings of the finest in African American gospel music, Thornton is now an integral part of the process. “I remember purchasing the collections years ago,” he told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Actually being part of the process feels like I’ve come full circle. It’s an honor to be involved with a ...

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“When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” – LaTonya Earl

“When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” LaTonya Earl (private release, 2014) To purchase a copy, email Latonyaearl1@gmail.com Houston gospel singer LaTonya Earl gets transparent on “When I Stopped Playing with Jesus.” After “playing with,” or not fully accepting, the Lord, Earl “plants her feet” in church and sees the light. She cleverly interpolates the gospel hymns “I Saw the Light” and “Jesus, the Light of the World” to reaffirm her conversion message. The handclapping rhythm and whirling organ give the song a traditional feel, and a call-and-response with the background vocalists is like a quartet vamp, but an R&B bounce throughout ...

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RIP: Tommy Cotton, Cotton Brothers Founder and Lead Singer

By Bob Marovich Cadillac James of the Cotton Family informed JGM that Tommy Cotton, founder and lead singer for the Cotton Brothers of Macon, Georgia, passed away February 9, 2017. Tommy Cotton was born September 24, 1937, in Marshallville, Georgia, the oldest boy in a family of 16 children. The Cottons worked share and provided field labor wherever needed. Some of the sons started an a cappella quartet group in the mid-1950s. Tommy, who was eventually named the group’s manager, was friends with fellow high school basketball team member Sylvester “Vessy” Huckaby, who served as a bodyguard for Otis Redding. ...

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Performers for the 2017 Stellar Awards Announced

(CHICAGO) – Feb. 8, 2017 – Central City Productions announced today select performers for the 2017 Stellar Awards. Hailed as an “epic night in gospel music,” this year’s Stellar Awards will return to the Las Vegas Orleans Arena on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The telecast will premiere on TV One Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET with encores at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. In addition, the Stellar Awards will air in national broadcast syndication on 170 stations in over 150 markets around the country from April 15 – May 7, 2017. Set to take the stage this ...

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Edna Gallmon Cooke – My Joy: Rare Recordings 1948-1966

Edna Gallmon Cooke My Joy: Rare Recordings 1948-1966 Gospel Friend (release date: February 27, 2017) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Edna Gallmon Cooke may be one of the most underappreciated female vocalists of gospel’s Golden Age. Although her voice was small when compared to belters like Mahalia Jackson, Emily Bram-Bibby, and Ernestine Washington, what Cooke lacked in volume she made up for in finesse. She stirred church congregations by starting her performance soft and slow and building to a fiery crescendo. She knew when to shout, when to drop into a bluesy disposition, when to evangelize, and how to work with ...

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RIP William Bright, Member of the Sons of the Birds

The Reverend Joe Williams and Suzette Arnold passed along the sad news that William Bright, an original member of the Sons of the Birds quartet, went from labor to reward. Arnold noted that Bright was also with the Dixie Hummingbirds, singing with them as recently as last Saturday at a sellout crowd at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. The Sons of the Birds got their name because at one time, some of the singers were sons of members of the Dixie Hummingbirds. They recorded an album and several singles for Peacock’s Song Bird subsidiary in the 1960s. Mr. Bright is ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 6, 2017

“God’s FreqWincey” Wincey From God’s FreqWincey (released in 2015) www.winceycomusic.com On her new single, “God’s FreqWincey,” Wincey Terry-Bryant plays off her first name to testify about how prayer gives her a clearer focus on her past, present, and future. The song has a breezy California vibe and Wincey’s singing has the light touch of fellow Newark native Dionne Warwick. Wincey has healthy doses of performing experience, having worked in the television and film industries, and even recorded with jazz great Grover Washington Jr. Being on “God’s FreqWincey” certainly enables Wincey to do plenty of important work. She runs a nonprofit called Nanababies ...

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