Christmas

JGM Pick of the Week: December 14, 2015

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” Livre From A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK Entertainment (2015) http://smarturl.it/AClassicHoliday No disrespect to the many fine gospel musicians out there, but it is surely nice to hear a cappella harmonies every once in a while. That’s what the gospel group Livre gives us in their rendering of the classic Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  The group’s Take 6-like blend sounds effortless but is harmonically complex. Still, less is more, and during a season when every retailer is yelling to be heard over the din of other retailers, and a steady dose of over-amplified musical cheer ...

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“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child – The Walls Group

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child” The Walls Group From the EP Sounds of Christmas With “Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child,” The Walls Group puts a contemporary lacquer on Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers’ Christmas classic, “Glory, Glory to the New Born King.” Once the most popular Christmas song in the African American community, it was overtaken by Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Still, as The Walls Group demonstrates, you can bring an old carol back to life by lifting the tempo and tossing leads back and forth like the Harlem Globetrotters pass the ball around.  They sing ...

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Caleb Collins – Caleb Collins Christmas

Caleb Collins Caleb Collins Christmas Caleb Collins Music (2015) www.calebcollins.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Caleb Collins of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir hits a long ball home run with Caleb Collins Christmas. Evoking modern day crooners Michael Buble’ and Harry Connick Jr., Collins sails with verve through lushly orchestrated versions of sacred and secular chestnuts, such as “Let It Snow,” “Joy to the World,” and particularly dramatic arrangements of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “What Child is This.” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” gets a Latin workover with a James Bond-ish open. “Silent Night” has a bluesy feel. Rachel Williams-Baggett ...

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Page CXVI – The Church Calendar Series

Page CXVI The Church Calendar Series: – Advent to Christmas – Lent to Maundy Thursday – Good Friday to Easter (new release) www.pagecxvi.com By Bob Marovich I discovered the intriguing music of Page CXVI via an email from Noisetrade about Good Friday to Easter, the trio’s latest and final release in their Church Calendar Series. There they were—husband-and-wife team Reid and Latifah Phillips and Dann Stockton—rendering church hymns with humble melodies and a pop underlay of gently jangling guitars, emotional violin, and contemplative keys.  The group could just as easily direct a meditation service as make a college radio playlist. It turns out ...

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JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: December 22, 2014

“Tis the Season for Miracles” Tarralyn Ramsey Nylarrat/Heartstrings Music (2014) www.tarralynramsey.com Tarralyn Ramsey translates the wonderment of Christmas  into a word of encouragement to people who don’t need presents under the tree—they need real miracles in their lives. Embellishing the melodramatic melody with melismatic runs from the Whitney Houston toolkit, Ramsey reminds the downhearted to keep steadfast in their belief: “Tis the season for miracles, tis the season for breakthrough.” Ramsey launches a note towards the end that is so high it may have taken out a star or two on its trajectory northward. Tarralyn Ramsey is a recording artist and the winner of the ...

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Christmas 2014 Special

Enjoy this special episode of the JGM Music Hour – all Christmas songs! Click on the image above to begin the audio stream. 2014 Christmas Special – Playlist: It’s Christmas time – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles feat. Kevin Ross Christ is born – Maurice Griffin Tis the season of miracles – Tarralyn Ramsey Merry Christmas – Lorianna Good news – Deborah Brown Children go where I send thee – Fairfield Four The Christmas song – Calvin Bridges This Christmas – Shawn Millz Mary don’t you know – the Bishops Quartet Merry Christmas – Norris J. feat. Taushey Sias All ...

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Blind Boys of Alabama & Taj Mahal – Talkin’ Christmas

Blind Boys of Alabama & Taj Mahal Talkin’ Christmas Sony Masterworks (2014) www.sonymasterworks.com By Bob Marovich Like the Chieftains, the Blind Boys of Alabama have been embraced by some of today’s hippest rock and roots musicians. On Talkin’ Christmas, the gospel quartet that is now an American icon celebrates the holidays with musical polymath Taj Mahal. Mind you, this is not the first time the Blind Boys have tackled the Christmas canon. That was 51 years ago, when the group was on Vee Jay Records. They and then-label mates the Swan Silvertones, Charles Taylor, and others delivered fairly standard versions of ...

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“Mary Did You Know” – The Bishops Quartet

“Mary Did You Know” The Bishops Quartet From I Know What Prayer Can Do (2014) www.thebishopsquartet.net Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s “Mary Did You Know” is one of the two or three Christmas songs to come out in recent times with real “legs,” or longevity. The Bishops Quartet gives it a contemporary quartet arrangement, and it works. Franky Smith’s electric guitar scatters blue notes like pixie dust while Thurman Hargrove Jr. lays down a warm Hammond B3 foundation. The quartet, comprised of Bishops Alvin Palmer (manager), Thurman Hargrove, James Coleman, and Elder Robert Brice, was organized in Orlando, Florida, and recorded ...

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Various Artists – Motown Christmas

Various Artists Motown Christmas Motown Gospel (2014) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Motown Christmas is the best yuletide album I have listened to in years.  Gifted executive producer Aaron W. Lindsey (who also plays, writes, and sings on the album) seamlessly blends the old and the new with the sacred and secular to create an overall vibe that feels cozy and familiar. First off, the duet couplings are inspired. For example, Kierra Sheard (gospel) and Chrisette Michele (pop) give “Angels We Have Heard On High” a beautifully traditional reading while injecting just enough of their own vocal personalities to make it ...

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JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: November 29, 2014

“Share Some Love” The North Carolina Community Choir From A Malaco Christmas (2014) Malaco Records www.malaco.com The irresistible North Carolina Community Choir offers this easygoing reminder of the real reason for the season. A team of tuneful soloists handles the verses, the choir harmonizes on the chorus, and a saxophone adds jazzy fills as well as a solo in the middle. What was supposed to be a one-time recording gig for a group of singers in 2010 became the genesis of the North Carolina Community Choir.  The ensemble produced an album, A Story To Tell, that garnered five of five stars ...

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