Gospel Music

Dave Bass – The Welcome Table

Dave Bass The Welcome Table DNB Associates (1997) www.cdbaby.com/davebass By Bob Marovich Although he recorded The Welcome Table twenty years ago, gospel singer and songwriter Dave Bass is promoting his quartet-inspired album to a new generation of listeners. The eight radio-sized selections on The Welcome Table sound like nostalgic reflections by a revivalist vocal harmony group, the kind that appears on TJ Lubinsky’s PBS specials. The songs have a latter-day Soul Stirrers vibe, with Bass channeling Sam Cooke’s elastic tenor but without his trademark yodel. Bass is accompanied by an uncredited quartet and contemporary musical backdrop. The title track as ...

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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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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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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: January 30, 2017

“I Got Out” Bryan Popin Little Boy Wonder Music (release date: January 15, 2017) www.bryanpopin.com Dubbed “Little Boy Wonder” by Stevie Wonder, gospel artist Bryan Popin infuses”I Got Out” with a Pentecostal-flavored explosion of gratitude to God for helping him escape his personal trials.  Popin assures that God will help you out of your “going through,” also. The single is reminiscent of the traditional-meets-contemporary blend of “Alright” and “Thank You Jesus” from Popin’s 2013 album, You Can Make It. From an old-school congregational singalong opening to its evangelist-on-fire vamp, “I Got Out” rocks so hard, it burns to a crisp, ...

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Beverly Crawford – The Essential Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford The Essential Beverly Crawford JDI Records (release date: October 23, 2015) Available at Amazon.com By Bob Marovich The Essential Beverly Crawford is a best-of pulled from her two volume Live from Los Angeles series, released in 2008 and 2010, respectively, with a new song, “Deliverance,” tacked on top. Like Pastor Shirley Caesar, Crawford knows how to work a congregation, interspersing conversational spoken word in the midst of songs or evangelizing before and during her performances. You hear the singer swoop, squall, whoop, scream, and shout with preacher’s breath. She preaches and teaches. She does the holy dance. But she also offers ...

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Various Artists – Heal: Songs of Hope for our Nation

Various Artists Heal: Songs of Hope for our Nation Motown Gospel (release date: January 13, 2017) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Gospel music often functions as protest music. Either explicitly, as during the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s, or implicitly, with semi-coded lyrics like the spirituals before them, gospel songs fight back against an oppressive world with messages of faith and encouragement that trouble won’t last always. Heal: Songs of Hope for our Nation from Motown Gospel offers ten examples of how contemporary gospel music is poised to carry on the fight against evil and oppression in today’s uncertain political climate. The ...

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“When Will It End?” – Dave Bass & the D.B.G.s

“When Will It End?” Dave Bass & the D.B.G.s DNB Associates, Inc. (2013) www.cdbaby.com/cd/davebass2 DC-area gospel soloist Dave Bass recorded “When Will It End?” in 2013 after the death of Trayvon Martin. Since the song’s message, “the way you look can change your fate,” rings just as true four years later, he’s putting it back front and center to call more attention to the need for justice and truth. Bass’s stinging line about Martin, “only seventeen, went for a snack / a brief encounter, never came back,” subconsciously evokes “The Ballad of Emmett Till,” a 1956 recording by Scatman Crothers’ ...

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J. Bethel & Spoken For – All In

J. Bethel & Spoken For All In (independent release) www.jbs4.co By Bob Marovich All in, indeed. Frenetically rolling drums at the outset signify that the debut full-length release by Detroit gospel group J. Bethel & Spoken For is about to dazzle the listener with a proverbial kitchen sink’s worth of instrumentation and a high-energy range of musical influences, from jazz to rock to contemporary gospel and even some funk (after all, Jason “J” Bethel Sr.’s uncle worked with Parliament Funkadelic). The album leans heavy on the church truism that praise is the answer, especially during personal trials, as articulated on “I ...

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