Gospel Music

TBGB Pick of the Week: January 12, 2009

“I Desire More”Crystal AikinFrom her self-titled Verity CD (released Jan. 13, 2009)www.verityrecords.com Crystal Aikin, winner of BET’s inaugural “Sunday Best” competition, sings every ounce of glory out of “I Desire More,” demonstrating why she won the program’s top prize. From its dramatic opening to the stirring conclusion and fade, “I Desire More” is perfectly paced and just about flawless. Aikin certainly knows how to improvise while building momentum and excitement in her performance. Known as the “Songbird of the Northwest,” Aikin hails from Tacoma, Washington and on her MySpace page lists her occupation as “nurse.” Something tells me that after ...

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After All These Years – Chuck & the Guiding Clouds

Chuck & the Guiding CloudsAfter All These YearsQuartet Boyz Records 2008www.myspace.com/chuckandtheguidingclouds Ever wonder where the sweet soul sound of the seventies went? It’s being preserved by some gospel quartets. Proof positive: Chuck and the Guiding Clouds’ release After All These Years offers up hearty helpings of quartet spirit wrapped in the bright, easy-going groove of three decades past. The Huntsville, Texas-based quartet harmonizes high and tightly, reminiscent of their label mates the Violinaires. Thematically, the songs on After All These Years focus on Jesus as friend and fixer during troubled times, which always resonates well with gospel music enthusiasts but ...

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Breakthrough – Pilgrim M.B. Church Choirs “Live”

BreakthroughPilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Choirs “Live”Independent release 2008(708) 237-3779 I’m not certain exactly when churches recognized the fundraising, membership development and public relations potential of producing records of their gospel choirs, but my guess is it took hold in the early 1950s. The earliest known progenitor of this practice was the St. Paul Baptist Church of Los Angeles, whose “Echoes of Eden” choir had a recording resume reaching back to the late 1940s, though to be fair, they were on Capitol, a major label. Other early adopters included Chicago’s St. Paul COGIC, Tabernacle Baptist, Greater Harvest Baptist, Fellowship MB and ...

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Cynthia Jones – Gotta Soul (Kingdom Records 2008)

Cynthia JonesGotta SoulKingdom Records 2008www.kingdomrecordsinc.com You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can judge a CD by its cover. Especially in the case of Cynthia Jones’ Gotta Soul. On the cover (above), Jones is bedecked in an ultra-hip top and earthy jewelry, and coiffed in a fetching, artsy and colorful Beyonce-as-Foxxy-Cleopatra ‘do. She is flanked by groovy ‘70s flowery designs of brown and orange. One of the tracks, “Love Jones,” riffs on the title of the Brighter Side of Darkness hit from the soulful seventies. All of this doesn’t just suggest that ...

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S.C. pays tribute to gospel great Tommy Ellison

From The State, Thursday, January 8, 2009: Viewing, funeral to celebrate life of Tommy Ellison By OTIS R. TAYLOR JR. – otaylor@thestate.com Like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke, Tommy Ellison got his start as a singer in church. But unlike them, he stayed there. The Salley native was lead vocalist of the gospel quartet Tommy Ellison & The Singing Stars for decades. He died Saturday in Baltimore at age 75. Part singer, part preacher and a full-time evangelist, the spiritual word would come out of Ellison’s mouth in pleading tones, harmonic vocal runs and, when the spirit really ...

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Another Quartet Soldier Gone: Claude Jeter Dies

Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times) informed TBGB today that Rev. Claude Jeter, the amazing high tenor lead singer and original member of the famed Swan Silvertones, went home to glory yesterday, January 6, 2009. Jeter was 94 years old and living in New York City at the time of his death. The Swans were among the Golden Era’s most beloved and revered gospel quartets. They drew huge crowds for their programs and recorded for top labels such as King, Specialty, Vee Jay, HOB, and Savoy. A line from the Swan Silvertones’ classic recording “Oh Mary ...

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Sister of Maurette Brown Clark Passes Away

From D.A. Johnson of Malaco… The Malaco Music Group regrets to inform you that Maurette Brown Clark’s sister, Loretta Faison, passed after a brief illness on Saturday, January 3, 2008. Ms. Clark would like to thank all of you for your prayers and support. She asks that you please say a special prayer for her brother-in-law, their daughters along with the rest of the family. The information for the wake and where to send condolences is as follows: Location: Caggiano Memorial Funeral Home 62 Grove Street Montclair, NJ 07042 (973) 744-6667 Date/Time: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 – 4:00pm-8:00pm The wake ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: January 5, 2009

“Born Again”Perry Taft & CompanyFrom the forthcoming CD Born Again (available January 20, 2009)www.bksmusicgroup.com Somehow, it seems fitting that the first official Pick of the Week of the new year is an old-school quartet recording about being reborn spiritually. On “Born Again,” Perry Taft pumps out line after line with a preacher’s breath and cadence. He also facilitates musical exchanges with members of his quartet in the style of Jimmy Hicks. Quartet fans will love the extended vamp on “Born Again,” which is exhilarating listening and in line with the sanctification the quartet sings about. And, of course, there’s that ...

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Try Jesus – Reverend Wesley Woods & the Hebrews Gospel Singers (G.C. Productions 2008)

Reverend Wesley Woods & the Hebrews Gospel SingersTry JesusG.C. Productions 2008www.hebrewsgospelsingers.com Try Jesus, the latest release (April 2008) from the Houston-based and Stellar-nominated Reverend Wesley Woods & the Hebrews Gospel Singers – their seventh, if I’m counting correctly – blends Southern-fried traditional quartet singing with the fiery, keyboard-accompanied mixed voice gospel sound that came to prominence in the late 1950s and 1960s. Although the singers on Try Jesus sound a tad tired and rough-edged at times – the tracks are hit and miss as a result – they make up for it with soulful enthusiasm. The song choices and performances ...

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“Went Home to Glory” – RIP, Tommy Ellison

Sam Williams, manager of Tommy Ellison and the Singing Stars, informed TBGB this afternoon that Tommy Ellison “went home to Glory.” He passed away this afternoon, January 3, 2009. The memorial services will be held this Saturday, January 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Brookland Baptist Church, 1066 Sunset Blvd. in West Columbia, SC. Mr. Williams (and TBGB) ask that everyone keep the Ellison family and the Singing Stars in their prayers during this difficult time.

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