Christmas

JGM Music Hour – Christmas 2018 Mixtape

Merry Christmas!  Here is the playlist for the Journal of Gospel Music’s special Christmas 2018 Mixtape: Something’s happening – CeCe Winans It must be Christmas time – Courtney Franklin & Sierra Ward-Pope Tis the season – Tony & the Essential Band That time of year – Lee Walker & Spirit Merry Christmas – Prez Blackmon Joy – Bishop J.D. Means Sr. This time of year – Anthony Faulkner It’s Christmas – CeCe Winans O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Audrey DuBois Harris Greatest gift – Shonda English Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Herb Middleton feat. E.L. Williams Christ ...

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Richard Davis – Christ the Lord (EP)

Richard DavisChrist the Lord (EP)R2D Music / Flaydo Music (release date: November 30, 2018)www.r2dmusic.com By Bob Marovich The title of Richard Davis’s Christmas EP comes from the reason for the season, from the album’s title track (and single), and from the lyrics of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” one of the songs in the “Christmas Rhapsody” instrumental medley that opens the four-track project. “Christmas Rhapsody” shifts from Trans-Siberian orchestral to funky as it sets the tone for a big production. And whether Davis is covering classic carols or rendering new songs, the constant is the fullness of the arrangements. The rhythm section fills all the ...

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“Silent Night” – Eddie Ruth Bradford

“Silent Night” Eddie Ruth Bradford Eddie Ruth Bradford Music (2018) By Bob Marovich Eddie Ruth Bradford could sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and it would sound carved out of the Mississippi hills. So it’s no surprise that the Clarksdale, Mississippi, native turns the Christmas classic “Silent Night” into a slice of southern soul as sticky as peach cobbler and just as tasty. She’s assisted by a vocal harmony group and a band with an organ that peeks out of the rhythm section to toss warbled notes like pixie dust. Another win for the “Delta Breeze.”

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CeCe Winans – Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album

CeCe Winans Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album Puresprings Gospel / Thirty Tigers (release date: October 19, 2018) www.cecewinans.com By Bob Marovich With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, new Christmas recordings have begun trickling in. Among the best I’ve heard thus far this season is CeCe Winans’ Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album. One is struck immediately with how much Winans’ voice has deepened in tone since her last solo Christmas album in 1998. She wraps her mellowed voice around the holiday songs on this new release like tongues of flame around a yuletide log. The result is an album as cozy ...

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JGM Christmas Hour

              Playlist for Christmas Hour 2017: 1. Joy to the world – Chris Byrd & True Victory 2. Savior of the world – The Ginyards 3. Have yourself a merry little Christmas – E. L. Williams 4. O come Emmanuel – Mike McCoy & Voices United 5. Don’t take Christ out of Christmas – Angelo and Veronica 6. Carol of the bells – MARi 7. Make room for Jesus – Volunteer State Mass Choir 8. Angels we have heard on high – DOE 9. Oh what a pretty little baby – Liz McComb 10. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 11, 2017

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” Dr. Ray Berryhill & the Celebration Choir of RLCI KNEntertainment LLC (digital release date: Dec 19, 2017) By Bob Marovich The Celebration Choir of Resurrected Life Church International on Chicago’s North Side gospelizes this cheery Christmas spiritual with powerful doses of 1980s church choir energy. Dr. Ray Allen Berryhill preaches during the vamp as the choir responds with lethal attack harmonies. Senior Pastor Berryhill comes from strong gospel mettle, having worked as minister of music for the late “Singing” Sammy Lewis, who was an early member of the Roberta Martin Singers before he became a solo artist ...

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“Silent Night” – Pastor Alyn E. Waller

“Silent Night” Pastor Alyn E. Waller From Christmas with Pastor Alyn E. Waller (release date: November 27, 2017) By Bob Marovich Don’t let the introductory avalanche of synthesized sound stop you from hearing Pastor Alyn E. Waller’s affecting take on this timeless carol. He improvises skillfully—not too much, not too little—to excavate the gospel within the soul of this simple melody. The dreamy sax that you hear leading the interlude becomes the second voice on the second verse.  Nicely done. Dr. Waller is Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Liz McComb – Merry Christmas

Liz McComb Merry Christmas GVE (release date: November 24, 2017) www.lizmccomb.com By Bob Marovich Liz McComb is one of the finest exporters of American soul and gospel to Europe. For her first-ever holiday album, Merry Christmas, she has mined traditional carols as well as Christmas songs from the African American experience and recorded them in Paris. The album is resplendent with delicate arrangements that accentuate the musicality of the singer and her team of musicians. There are no less than three keyboard players who participate—McComb included—and all are excellent. And Jean Wellers’ deft jazz guitar work makes “The Christmas Song” ...

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“Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas” – Angelo and Veronica

“Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas” Angelo and Veronica www.angeloandveronica.com By Bob Marovich Many Christmases ago, while driving through a suburb of Chicago, I passed a house with a giant lighted plastic Santa on the back deck. On the ground, in Santa’s shadow, was a miniscule Nativity scene. For me, Enormous Santa towering over the manger scene like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float remains the epitome of Christmas consumerism. This is just what husband-and-wife duo Angelo and Veronica are getting at in their single, “Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas.” Opening with the jangle of jingle bells, the song evokes the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 26, 2016

“Away in a Manager” The Wardlaw Brothers Available on iTunes Appropriately, the final Pick of the Week for 2016 is a beloved nineteenth-century Christmas carol given a contemporary flourish by the Wardlaw Brothers. Cascading harmonies introduce a slight variation on the carol’s traditional melody, giving the piece even more of a lullaby-like quality. A delicate string-led arrangement underpins the group’s ensemble and solo work. But what makes the Wardlaw Brothers’ singing on this carol especially appealing is a prominent bass vocal line that complements the complex high register harmonies. By the conclusion, one can understand why the Wardlaw Brothers have been nicknamed ...

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