Gospel Music

TBGB Pick of the Week: January 8, 2008

“Lion of Judah”John Francis & The Ruach ChoirShekinah International 2007www.johnfrancis.org.uk Bishop John Francis, Founder and Senior Pastor of Ruach Ministries in Brixton, South London, England, visited the Gospel Announcers Guild meeting during the 2007 Gospel Music Workshop of America, and proved to be a riveting, powerful presence as he ministered to the gathering. “Lion of Judah,” the single from Bishop Francis and the Ruach Choir’s 2007 release, Welcome In This Place, demonstrates that the choir is just as riveting and powerful as the church leader. False ending after false ending, the Ruach Choir and Francis transform what could have been ...

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BMI to honor gospel trailblazers the Mighty Clouds of Joy

From the Tennessean, Sunday, 01/06/08BY BILL FRISKICS-WARRENStaff Writer They have opened for or toured with Paul Simon, Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones. They were the first gospel quartet to appear on Soul Train and one of the earliest to don bright costumes and choreograph their stage moves, a practice that earned them the nickname “The Temptations of Gospel.” They even had a disco hit with their 1976 single “Mighty High.” For nearly a half-century now, the Mighty Clouds of Joy have adapted their sound, style and repertoire to keep current with emerging trends even as they have remained steadfast ...

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TBGB Reviews…The Victory Travelers

He’s a God (25th Anniversary Edition)The Victory TravelersRapture 2007 Just about every one of the eight tracks on the 25th Anniversary CD Edition of the Victory Travelers’ He’s a God, their debut album for Gene Strawhun’s Rapture Records, is hard-charging, powerful, going-to-church quartet excitement. The rest of the songs are deep and bluesy, suggesting that the quartet hails from the Deep South when, in fact, it is from Chicago. Deacon Reuben Burton leads on most of the songs, with “(I Signed a) Contract with Jesus” being the best on the set. Cris Johnson (of the Righteous Singers) provides killer electric ...

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TBGB Reviews…The Pilgrim Jubilees

Jesus Got Me OffThe Pilgrim JubileesMalaco 2007www.malaco.com Jesus Got Me Off is the Pilgrim Jubilees’ latest offering in a string of recordings going back to when Eisenhower entered the White House. The Jubes’ singing has been preserved on every type of recording medium (except for cylinders) and span as many decades as record labels. For some time now, however, they have been with the quartet-friendly Malaco Music Group of Jackson, Mississippi. And as if they drank a long, tall glass from the Fountain of Youth, the Pilgrim Jubilees – Clay and Cleve Graham, Major Roberson, and Ben Chandler – sound ...

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Freeman Wilson, Co-Founder of Philadelphia Mass Choir, Dead at 66

A nicely written article from the Philadelphia Daily News. By JOHN F. MORRISONmorrisj@phillynews.com THEY CALLED Freeman Wilson Jr. the “Teddy Pendergrass of gospel music.” They also called him a “miracle,” because when he was born in 1941, he weighed just 2.5 pounds and there was considerable doubt that he’d survive. But survive he did, and he became an important force in the world of gospel music in Philadelphia and around the country. Freeman Wilson, an ordained elder in the Pentecostal faith, a former cosmetologist and supervisor for the old Philadelphia General Hospital and at a drug-treatment center, died Dec. 16. ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: December 31, 2007

“Family (There’s a Healing)”Donald Lawrence Introduces The MurrillsQuiet Water Entertainment 2007 Supported by Stellar Award-winning gospel artist Donald Lawrence (left), the Murrills deliver a slow, contemplative call-and-response paean to the imperative of family strength and personal forgiveness. The delicate melody tugs at the heartstrings while the lyrics remind us that “Life is too short/Make a choice to be happy.” Sound advice for the New Year. The full project is due out in 2008. In the meantime, Happy New Year! TBGB is always glad when you stop by!

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CD Single Review: Major Choirboy

“I Found a Friend”Major ChoirboyGospel Management Group 2007www.choirboyonline.com Trained at the world-class Berklee School of Music, Major Choirboy asserts that he wants to establish “a new brand of sophisticated gospel music.” If so, “I Found a Friend” is an excellent start, because it’s anchored in cool combo jazz, not generic-sounding smooth jazz. Major Choirboy’s pleasant, resonant voice is supported by a female vocal trio called the Angels and a warm but complex acoustic piano-led jazz combo, which brings Vince Guaraldi to mind. As the vocals build with gospel intensity, the accompaniment (especially piano and drums) delivers a fireworks display of ...

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TBGB Reviews…Sister Elizabeth Eustis

Walk With MeSister Elizabeth EustisDelmark 2000www.delmark.com New Orleans may be known for giving birth to jazz, but Crescent City musicians and vocalists also made important contributions to gospel music. Mahalia Jackson, Helen Robinson, the Jackson Gospel Singers, Zion Harmonizers, the Greater St. Stevens Choir, and many more from New Orleans praised the Lord in song. So did Sister Elizabeth Eustis. Sister Eustis can be heard on Walk With Me, a release of her May 2, 1962 recording session at 2nd Mount Olive Baptist Church in New Orleans. At the time, Paul Affeldt released just four tracks from the session on ...

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Chicago Choir Director’s Death a Mystery

From the Chicago Sun-Times: SOUTH SIDE Deacon at Trinity United Church of Christ found shot multiple times in his home on Sunday December 26, 2007SUN-TIMES STAFF REPORTS Chicago Police were searching for answers Tuesday about who shot and killed a beloved choir director and teacher in his South Side home. Meanwhile, funeral arrangements were set for Donald Young, who for two decades directed the choir at Trinity United Church of Christ, a high-profile African-American church. Donald Young, Choir Director of Trinity United Church, was found murdered. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama attends the church, at 400 W. 95th St. in the ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: December 24, 2007

“His Glory”Calvin Suggs & FriendsFrom the CD CelebrateMCG Records 2007http://www.calvinsuggs.org/ North Carolina’s Calvin Suggs, former leader of the Carolina Spirituals, teams up with fellow quartet singer Luther Barnes of the Sunset Jubilaires on “His Glory,” a lovely, unpretentious gospel ballad. While the title track is the touted single from Suggs’ CD Celebrate, “His Glory,” with solid song construction and excellent vocal contributions from the singers, sounds like a hit. In addition, it is sufficiently traditional to please quartet fans, but contemporary enough to satisfy the urban inspirational crowd.

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