Breaking News

Gospel Music Icon Buck Rambo Passes Away

Nashville, Tenn (February 21, 2016) – Gospel music legend Richard Fay “Buck” Rambo, beloved patriarch of the Gospel music family, The Rambos, died, February 21, 2016, at 6:02 PM in Palmetto, Florida, at the age of 84, surrounded by his loving wife Mae and family members. He was born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, son of Noah Burton Rambo and Mary Irisilda Rambo. Buck was married to Mae Kutz Rambo on April 1, 1995. Survivors include his wife Mae, daughter Reba Rambo (Dony) McGuire, grandchildren Israel Anthem McGuire, Destiny Rambo McGuire, Dionne (Scott) Dismuke, Dyson Dismuke, sister Hilda Bullock, brothers Donald ...

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Herbert “Pee Wee” Pickard, Noted Gospel Accompanist, Dies

By Bob Marovich Traditional gospel music enthusiast Jordan K. Phillips informed JGM that Herbert “Pee Wee” Pickard, noted organist and pianist who accompanied the Gospel Harmonettes, James Cleveland and the Voices of Tabernacle,  and many other gospel artists, passed away today. Mr. Pickard,  a resident of Detroit, was a child prodigy.  Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound) told JGM recently that as a preteen, Pickard caught the attention of Lionel Hampton around the time that Dinah Washington was the group’s lead singer.  Heilbut laughed that had Pickard joined Hampton and Washington, they would have invented soul music ten years before Ray Charles. Pickard not only ...

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Bob Marovich Interviewed by Steve Dale for WGN Plus

                Many thanks to my friend Steve Dale for interviewing me about my book, A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music. Our discussion was featured on “Steve Dale’s Other World” for WGN Plus, a podcast offering of WGN Radio. Listen to the podcast here: “Steve Dale’s Other World.” Be sure to check out Steve’s other podcasts for WGN Plus, as well as his contributions as an internationally-renowned animal expert at “Steve Dale’s Pet World.”

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Congratulations to the 58th GRAMMY Winners

Gospel winners at the 58th GRAMMY Awards: 36. Best Gospel Performance/Song “Wanna Be Happy?” – Kirk Franklin 37. Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song “Holy Spirit” – Francesca Battistelli 38. Best Gospel Album Covered: Alive in Asia [Live] (Deluxe) – Israel & Newbreed (RGM Newbreed/RCA Inspiration) 39. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album This is Not a Test – Tobymac (ForeFront Records) 40. Best Roots Gospel Album Still Rockin’ My Soul – Fairfield Four (Fairfield Four Records) 45. Best American Roots Performance “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” – Mavis Staples (Anti) For a complete list of winners and nominees, visit ...

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Another R.I.P. – Psalmist Erica Bratton-McCollough

By Bob Marovich The year 2016 is not even two months old and is already looking like it will go down in history as The Year the Music Died. One more gospel artist, and a young person, no less, has left this earth for her eternal reward. Erica Bratton-McCollough, 43, a North Carolina native, was an early member of Donald Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers.  Many remember her work in particular on the ensemble’s “When the Saints Go to Worship.”  She died February 11, 2016, after an extended illness. According to Gregory Gay of GOSPELflava, Bratton-McCollough was also a stage actress and ...

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Doris Sykes, Longtime Soloist for Christian Tabernacle, Passes Away

By Bob Marovich Marcel West and Gregory Gay reported to JGM today that gospel singer Doris Sykes passed away. From A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music: Born in St. Louis and raised by an aunt and an uncle who was pastor of a Baptist Church, Doris Sykes was born with a distinctive high soprano range and acquired the poise of an opera singer. Willie Mae Ford Smith was a cousin. Sykes first sang for the public at her uncle’s church. “We used to have musicals,” she said, “and I used to write my dad notes, ...

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RIP: Jodi Litmon, Independent Gospel Artist

By Bob Marovich The gospel music world mourns the passing of Mrs. Jodi Litmon, an independent gospel artist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who recently racked up six nominations for the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, including New Artist of the Year. Mrs. Litmon was Founder and CEO of Jodi Litmon Heart of Worship Ministries and director of music at Overflow Ministries Covenant Church.  Earlier this year, she published My Experience…For His Glory, a book chronicling the power of a positive outlook in the midst of her cancer diagnosis and recovery. She also wrote a song in response to her illness.  Listen to “Soar ...

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RIP: Professor Alfred E. Miller – “One of the First – One of the Last”

ONE OF THE FIRST – ONE OF THE LAST Professor Alfred E. Miller (1927-2015) From Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound and The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Excepting pioneer COGIC keyboard artists Arizona Dranes and Elder Charles Beck, Alfred E. Miller was the first pianist on records to play in the modern gospel style. In fact, since he drew his inspiration from Roberta Martin, who more or less invented things, traveling very far from where Dranes and Beck had landed, Miller has a real claim to being the first on record, since Martin herself wouldn’t record for at ...

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JGM Music Hour: The Ten Best Songs of 2015…

          …according to the Journal of Gospel Music. Click on the image above to listen to an uninterrupted mixtape of the ten songs. Playlist: Oh! – Jonathan McReynolds (eOne Music/Tehillah Music Group) Only Jesus – Alexis Spight (eOne Music/Uncle G Records) He Delivered Me – Pastor Marlon Lock (self-released) Grace – Yael Hilton (self-released) Something About That Name – Lorraine Stancil (Anointed Sounds Records) He Touched Me – Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid and the Traditional Gospel Choir (self-released) All I Need is You – AsOne (360 MusicWorx) Pieces – Rachael Mann (C2 Records/Oak Tree Productions) Abide – ...

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RIP Otis Clay: Gospel, Soul Singer

By Bob Marovich I was shocked and saddened, as many were, to hear about Otis Clay’s passing today. He granted me an interview for the forthcoming Halo Records set a couple of years ago, and I was grateful for his depth of knowledge, funny stories, and generosity of spirit. For more information, click here:  Otis Clay

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