Gospel Music

More Information on Life, Homegoing of James Davis – Dixie Hummingbirds

TBGB thanks David April, host of the Philadelphia-based radio show “The Gospel Train” (WRDV-FM), for providing the following press release. Be sure to check out David’s show at www.wrdv.org. PHILADELPHIA, April 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mr. James B. Davis, founding member and patriarch of the world-famous gospel group, the Dixie Hummingbirds, died in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17, 2007. Born June 6, 1916 in Greenville, South Carolina, Mr. Davis was the Hummingbirds leader from their inception in 1928 through his retirement in 1984. With a fluctuating lineup, the ‘Birds spent their first decade doing what Mr. Davis called “wildcatting,” performing along ...

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TBGB Reviews…Tramaine Live

I Never Lost My Praise – LiveTramaine HawkinsGospocentric Records/Zomba Label Group 2007www.gospocentric.com At the beginning of her new live recording, Tramaine Hawkins is introduced as the “greatest female voice to ever sing gospel music.” Such hyperbole probably makes Tramaine blush, since that eliminates other towering giants of the genre such as Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, and Willie Mae Ford Smith. Regardless, Tramaine has a marvelous voice and stage presence, and certainly hasn’t lost her praise or her energy. I Never Lost My Praise – Live was recorded on February 18, 2006 at Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland ...

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More Loss: Kayla Parker-Tolbert – Gospel Songwriter, Producer, Backup Singer

TBGB received this press release from Black Gospel Promo, and passes along its deepest sympathies to Kayla’s family and friends. Too young, too young… Kayla Parker – Tolbert’s remarkable talent has earned her an enviable place on the modern musical landscape. Her music was part of the funeral of Coretta Scott King and of the healing process after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. As a songwriter, producer and backup singer, she has worked with a Who’s Who in both gospel and R&B music, including CeCe, BeBe and Vickie Winans, Brandy, Anthony Hamilton, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and Mark Kibble ...

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Dixie Hummingbirds’ James Davis Dies

For those who have contacted me to learn whether James Davis, longtime member of the Dixie Hummingbirds has passed, I have confirmed that he died on Tuesday, April 17. The funeral will be on Friday, April 27 in Philadelphia. I will post more details as I receive them. In the photo, Davis (left) poses with Rev. Joe Williams who will officiate the homegoing ceremony. Special thanks to David April for providing the photo. RIP, James Davis — you deserve your place in glory!

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Amazing, Amazing Grace!

TBGB correspondent Matt Garret from Australia brought this website to our attention (thanks, mate). Quoting from the site’s home page: “Since its creation in 1779 in England, ‘Amazing Grace’ has grown in popularity to become one of the best-known hymns in America. This Web site explores its history through items from the collections of the Library of Congress, from the earliest printing of the song to various performances of it on sound recordings. Also included is a searchable catalog of the Chasanoff/Elozua Amazing Grace Collection at the Library of Congress, which comprises published recorded performances of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ ...

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TBGB Reviews…7 Sons of Soul

Witness7 Sons of SoulZomba 2007www.7sonsofsoul.com From Washington, D.C., the 7 Sons of Soul – Cliff Jones, Dave Lindsey, Deonte Gray, Kenneth Epperson, Doug Hayes, and Sam Kendrick – blend today’s beats with south of the Mason-Dixon line quartet singing, complete with backbeat, bluesy guitar riffs, lead trading, and hard singing. In fact, on the mid-tempo “Clap Your Hands,” the Sons sound eerily similar to the modern-day Supreme Angels or Violinaires. “Prayin’ 4 You” could have been produced at Memphis’s Hi Records by Willie Mitchell, it’s that soulful. Speaking of soul, on “After-While,” the lead singer channels Luther Vandross in a ...

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TBGB Reviews…Katie Sankey

My Best to YouKatie SankeyMeltone Records 2007www.meltonerevue.com Katie Sankey’s voice is so large it can hardly be contained within the borders of her home state of Alabama, where she is a Jefferson County native. It’s no surprise Katie won the Dorothy Love Coates Life Achievement Award at the 2006 American Gospel Quartet Convention: she reminds me of singers like Dot Coates and Ernestine Washington who didn’t need a stage full of instrumentation to turn a church out. The finest tracks on Katie’s CD, My Best to You, released earlier this year on Melvin Couch’s Meltone Records, focus on her God-given ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: April 9, 2007

“Fisher of Men”BatisteFrom the DaMil Records CD Love is Your Greatest Gift 2006www.batistemusic.com DeLois Barrett Campbell believes that the Barrett Sisters blend harmonies so well because they are blood-related sisters. If kinship breeds quality harmony, it’s no wonder brothers Lionel (Ray) and Lyndon Batiste create such a heavenly sound together. Not steeped in the African American gospel experience – they grew up in the Roman Catholic Church – the brothers Batiste nevertheless call upon their RnB influences to soulfully render “Fisher of Men,” a beautiful, meditative song with a lullaby-like melody. It’s the kind of song that is likely to ...

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TBGB Reviews…Tramaine Hawkins

Tramaine TreasuryTramaine HawkinsLight Records 2004www.lightrecords.com Edwin and Walter Hawkins may have smoothed the edges of gospel music with jazz chords and soft-rock arrangements to render it more appealing to the masses, but Tramaine’s churchy shouting was a constant reminder of its raising. A product of the Church of God in Christ, Tramaine Hawkins (nee Davis) recorded her first single at the age of ten as a member of the Heavenly Tones. She later sang with the Northern California State Choir, where she was in the right place at the right time: the magical moment in 1968 when Hawkins’ “O Happy ...

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TBGB Reviews…Mavis Staples

We’ll Never Turn BackMavis StaplesAnti- 2007www.mavisstaples.com “It’s the 21st Century – it feels like it’s 1960!” Mavis Staples’ lament in “99 and ½,” a track on her new project, We’ll Never Turn Back, pretty much sums up the album’s theme. A revisiting of the Civil Rights Movement’s musical lexicon, We’ll Never Turn Back is Mavis’ chance to tell it like it was and is (“I wouldn’t lie to you; I’ll leave that to the politicians”), and to encourage people to again stand up for their rights. Over the years, Mavis has developed an effective, gritty gospel cry-shout, perfectly suited to ...

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