Contemporary Gospel

“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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Kirk Franklin – Losing My Religion

Kirk Franklin Losing My Religion Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA Inspiration (release date: November 15, 2015) https://www.facebook.com/KirkFranklin By Bob Marovich The church, like corporations and labor unions, started out revolutionary and ended up a bureaucracy. How did that happen when Jesus stated that the key to life is simple: “Love one another?” Yet over the centuries, man in his arrogance and vanity has weighted down this universal dictum with so many asterisks that the world has sunk to the bottom of a pool of perpetual confusion. Along these lines, and articulated in an unaccompanied poem that serves as the opening and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 30, 2015

“God’s Got Me” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dexterwalkerandzionmovem From the Chicago choir that won the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound search for the Best Church Choir in America, “God’s Got Me” is a confident declaration of soul comfort sung from within the everlasting arms of the Lord. It’s an embrace that feels so inviting to lead vocalist Minister Tim White that he revs up to testifying by the conclusion. This Percy Bady-produced single, from Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s forthcoming full project release, is less frenetic than we are used to hearing from ZM and Min. Tim White, ...

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Derrick “Doc” Pearson – No Greater Love (CD/DVD)

Derrick “Doc” Pearson No Greater Love IAM Music (2015) By Bob Marovich No Greater Love, a CD/DVD retrospective of the IAM Music Company of Clinton, Maryland, is a celebration of the company’s ten years of existence and a greatest hits package for IAM Music’s co-founder, Derrick “Doc” Pearson, who participates in one way or another on all of the Scripture-based music selections. A versatile bass player, singer, songwriter, and producer, Pearson (“Doc” stands for Disciple of Christ), cut his musical teeth on 1970s and 1980s soft soul and funk while working with the likes of the O’Jays and Whispers. The songs ...

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Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. – We Will Worship, Volume 1

Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. We Will Worship – Volume One Lions Roar Productions (2011) By Bob Marovich It makes sense that Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr.’s first live Praise & Worship CD was recorded at Love Center Ministries in Oakland, California, on July 11, 2011, exactly one year to the day after the passing of Bishop Walter Hawkins. The album, We Will Worship – Volume One, has more in common with the Hawkins Family’s choral outings than with today’s definition of Praise & Worship music. In fact, the album features so many delightfully traditional gospel elements that ...

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Yardley Griffin – Hear Me Now

Yardley Griffin Hear Me Now Black Market Blue (release date: September 11, 2015) www.blackmarket.blue By Bob Marovich Yardley Griffin knew from age seven that he wanted to serve God. At sixteen he began writing songs and turned his interest in music into a job as worship leader at Destiny Church, the Sacramento, California, church founded by his grandfather in 1963. Griffin is now executive pastor of Destiny Church, but more responsibility has not stalled his singing pursuit. In September, he released Hear Me Now, a mostly live recording of original songs. During Hear Me Now, we discover that the wiry Griffin is ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood

Get the details behind the creation of some of gospel music’s most popular songs at JGM’s Genesis of a Gospel Song. “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood Richard Smallwood, as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich: In October 1995, my mother was ill, my godbrother was terminally ill, and I was a caregiver, going from the hospital to my house, taking care of everything. Caregiving is a very difficult thing to do. It’s time consuming, and if you don’t watch out, you’ll end up in the hospital, too. I also began to feel that I wasn’t doing enough for my loved ones. I felt ...

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Joyful Gospel – We’ve Got a River to Cross

Joyful Gospel We’ve Got a River to Cross Rampart Street Music www.rampartstreetmusic.com By Bob Marovich Although Joyful Gospel gets top billing, the choir we hear on the album We’ve Got a River to Cross, released on the New Orleans-based label Rampart Street Music, is actually a blend of choral ensembles. More specifically, it is a combination of the group Joyful and the Spirit of New Orleans Choir, which itself is a conglomeration of members of gospel groups that work with Jamalar Booking Agency in New Orleans. Not a shouting group by any means, this combined choral group sings with studied ...

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Carla Martin – One Word

Carla Martin One Word The Cloud Music (2014) http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/carlamartin1 By Bob Marovich Although Carla Martin has been singing for the better part of ten years, One Word is her debut album. Martin possesses a pleasant, power pop alto with a tight vibrato and the ability to get down into Toni Braxton’s lowest register when necessary. All songs on the CD are original compositions written by Martin and her producer, Larry Wilson.  Although the album opens and closes with high-energy praise songs energized by thumping drums, roaring guitars, and waves of electronica, Martin shines best on the tracks in the middle ...

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Janice Gaines on Living the Greatest Life Ever

By Bob Marovich Not that she would have called it her bucket list, but a young Janice Gaines had three childhood aspirations. “As a little kid,” she told the Journal of Gospel Music, I would play like was a teacher, and I would play like I was a singer, and I would play like I was on [the television game show] ‘Wheel of Fortune!’” She laughed. “I’ve done everything but be on ‘Wheel of Fortune!’” Born in St. Louis but reared in Memphis, Janice had a front row seat for performances by her “unofficial music mentor,” her mother, Jackie Reddick. Singer, ...

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