Gospel Music

“Glory, Glory to the New Born King”: Gospel at Christmastime

Today, nearly every popular gospel artist has a Christmas project in his or her catalog. The Mississippi Mass Choir, Luther Barnes, and Yolanda Adams are among those releasing Christmas albums this season. But when did the tradition of gospel artists recording Christmas carols begin? One is inclined to answer that Mahalia Jackson set the standard in 1950 with her Apollo recording of “Silent Night,” but the tradition goes back much further, more than two decades before the release of Mahalia’s disc. In truth, Christmas recordings by African American sacred artists predate gospel by several years. The Elkins Mixed Quartette, also ...

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TBGB Reviews…The Frierson Brothers

Over ThereThe Frierson BrothersJoyland Records 2007www.joylandrecords.com The Frierson Brothers – Rev. Fredrick, Sr.; Rev. Franklin; and Joe, Jr. – hail from New Jersey, but on Over There, the quartet sounds as if it’s headquartered in the Carolinas. The song selection runs the gamut from the traditional (“Walk With Me,” a reorganizing of “In the Garden,” complete with standard quartet guitar chord intro and the bass singer intoning the familiar, “Well…”), to compositions by 1970s and 1980s stars Donnie Harper of the New Jersey Mass Choir (“These Are They”) and Harrison Johnson (his classic “I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice”), ...

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The Sister Rosetta Tharpe Memorial Fund

Witness gospel music history — correction, American music history — being made as the Dixie Hummingbirds, Marie Knight, Odetta, the Huff Singers, and Willa Ward with the Johnny Thompson Singers perform for the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Memorial Fund. Music will be in the air and all around at this fundraiser, Friday, January 11, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA. Proceeds will help purchase a long overdue memorial for Sister Rosetta Tharpe at Northwood Cemetery, and aid Community Music Scholarship Programs at Temple University and Settlement Music School. Applause to Dixie Hummingbirds biographer Jerry Zolten and ...

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Percy Bady: It’s a “Wonderful Life” in the Kingdom Biz

Gospel’s uber-producer Percy Bady is always busy Kingdom building with his songs and production. This time, however, the Kingdom he’s building is here on earth. It’s a brand new record company. And while Bady spends each Sunday afternoon sending the praises up, his partner in the business spends his Sunday afternoons taking defenders down. Kingdom Biz Records, a gospel artist development, production, and recording enterprise based in Chicago, is a joint venture between Bady and Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris. The company was formed as the result of a chance meeting of the two entrepreneurs. As musical director of ...

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Memphis’ WLOK – A Legend in its Own Time

While running in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon this past weekend, I passed the offices of WLOK 1340 AM, “A Family Tradition.” Headquartered in a diminutive building on a back street near Memphis’ bustling downtown, WLOK is just as important to the music history of Memphis as Elvis, Sun, Stax, Hi, the COGIC headquarters, Beale Street, W.C. Handy’s house, WDIA, and East Trigg Baptist Church. It has enough of a history, in fact, to merit its own historical marker. Most importantly, the gospel music emanating out of this storied institution Saturday was traditional to the core, what WLOK calls “Solid ...

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Gospel in the Chicago Tribune

Check out Aaron Cohen’s excellent article about gospel music in the Chicago Tribune. He makes the point that Chicago is not only the birthplace of gospel music, but it has taken up permanent residence here, too. Special thanks to Aaron for listing “Gospel Memories” and The Black Gospel Blog in the article and reference guide! Click here for the article:Aaron Cohen – Chicago Tribune

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TBGB Reviews…Valerie Boyd

VictoryValerie BoydShekinah International 2006http://www.valerieboyd.net/ Nestled among standard urban contemporary arrangements on Valerie Boyd’s Victory is a collection of soulfully-sung, “wooden church” gospels that single-handedly make her solo project a four-star effort. Boyd is arguably best known for her old-school leanings, and it shows on Victory. The North Carolina-born vocalist transitions from the modern tempo of “Jehovah Jirah” to pour her heart out in an intensely passionate arrangement of Darius Brooks’ “Your Will,” unequivocally the project’s finest moment. Valerie demonstrates more vocal prowess on the a cappella “Fix Me,” and follows this brief, but effective, church wrecker with the uptempo “Do ...

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Quartet Singing in the Windy City

Here’s another article for your enjoyment, a report by James Porter for Time Out Chicago on a major quartet program in Chicago this past weekend. http://www.timeout.com/chicago/blog/out-and-about/?p=3373#more-3373 Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! As the song goes, there’s “so much to be thankful for!”

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