Gospel Music

TBGB Pick of the Week: January 30, 2006

“Turn it Around” Israel and New BreedFrom Alive from South AfricaIntegrity Gospel 2006 When I first heard Israel Houghton a couple of years ago, I was struck by how intelligent was his mix of gospel, Christian, rock, and pop styles with lovely melodies and muscular production. My admiration only strengthens with his latest single, “Turn it Around,” from the Alive from South Africa CD. First of all, you can’t sing in South Africa – known for producing some of the most breathtakingly beautiful choral sounds and harmonies on the planet – and not bring good music: it would be as ...

Read More »

Keyboardist Billy Preston Recovering from Infection

A USA Today report noted that Scottsdale, Arizona resident Billy Preston, 59, is “recovering from a serious infection of the sac encasing his heart.” He “remains seriously ill and cannot speak because he has a tracheotomy.” Preston had a kidney transplant some years ago but the kidney failed, placing him on dialysis. I’m sure Preston could use all our prayers at this challenging time. The brief article mentions Preston’s organ work on the Beatles’ hit “Get Back.” I first heard of Preston in the early 70s from his hit singles “Will It Go Round in Circles,” “Space Race,” and “Nothing ...

Read More »

“Steal Away to Jesus” – R.I.P. Hulah Gene Dunklin Hurley

On a very sad note: Madame Hulah Gene Dunklin Hurley of Detroit, Michigan passed away Wednesday, January 25. Gospel scholar David Jones told TBGB that she was in the hospital for a routine operation, experienced some post-op complications that may not have been diagnosed properly, and suffered a massive heart attack. Hulah Gene was a member of Rev. James Lofton’s Church of Our Prayer Choir (“Great Day,” Prosperity and Vee Jay, 1954) and a regular soloist with Rev. Charles Craig’s great Voices of Tabernacle Choir. Her high soprano voice could be heard soaring above the choir. The song she is ...

Read More »

CD Single Review: “Dance” – Chris Jones featuring Word of Praise

“Dance”Chris Jones featuring Word of Praisefrom the Forthcoming CD, Chris Jones Featuring Word of PraiseTyscot 2006www.tyscot.com As I was previewing “Dance,” the first single to be released from Detroiter Chris Jones’ upcoming new project, Chris Jones Featuring Word of Praise, I could almost hear it being dropped into radio rotation with the recordings of dozens of other similar-sounding male vocalist-led ensembles singing praises with a high-energy musical backdrop. “Dance” is not the world’s most creative track, but it will do well on gospel radio as well as for gospel DJs and on skate nights because it has that shout-for-joy enthusiasm ...

Read More »

TBGB Pick of the Week: January 22, 2006

“Looking for You”Kirk FranklinFrom the Gospocentric CD Hero2005 Gospel disco? The sacred lyric has been embraced by blues, jazz, soul, funk, RnB, doo-wop, so why not disco? So must have thought baseball-capped gospel superstar Kirk Franklin, as he all but hangs a mirror ball and lights the dance floor on “Looking for You.” The song features a metronomic thumping beat and syncopated whistles reminiscent of the days of big ‘dos and bell bottoms. Yet as frightening as this might sound, Kirk pulls it off in his signature creative way by mixing in a healthy dose of urban gospel testimony. “Looking ...

Read More »

CD Single Review: Martha Munizzi — “No Limits”

Martha Munizzi“No Limits”From the CD, No LimitsIntegrity Gospel 2005 Having heard golden-haired and silky-voiced Martha’s spectacular talent on display both live and on her CD package of marvelously-interpreted holiday songs, I know of and respect her vocal talent. Her upcoming single, “No Limits,” however, is an ironic title for a track that is simply not her best work, or at least not deserving of single status. It opens with buzzing and groaning guitars arranged more like a fanfare for the opening sequence of a sports talk program than a gospel song. A background ensemble provides the song’s melodic and lyric ...

Read More »

Essential Gospel – Classic Recordings: No. 129

“Rough Side of the Mountain”Rev. F.C Barnes & Rev. Janice BrownConsolating Sound (AIR) 1983 “Rough Side of the Mountain” was an early home run for then-fledgling, now major indie Atlanta International Records (AIR), when the company was doing business under the Consolating Sound imprint. The recording’s irresistible sing-along chorus and windshield-wiper tempo accompany Reverend F.C. Barnes and Rev. Janice Brown of the Red Budd Holy Church in Rocky Mount, NC. The two ministers harmonize like a hip version of the Consolers. The overall groove of “Rough Side” gives the listener the feeling that the Reverends have not only made it ...

Read More »

“Another Soldier Gone” — Wilson Pickett dies of heart attack at 64

From The Hollywood Reporter — January 19, 2006. TBGB NOTE: Wilson Pickett’s gospel career, which has been glossed over in much of the reporting on his death today, included a short stint with an early iteration of the Violinaires; Pickett can be heard with the quartet on its 1957 Gotham single, “Sign of the Judgement”/My Work Will Be Done.” In addition, Pickett assumed lead duties on the Spiritual Five’s “Christ’s Blood”/”Call Him Up” for Peacock in 1963. By Chris Morris Singer Wilson Pickett, the soul titan whose gutsy ’60s hits earned him the nickname “the Wicked Pickett,” died Thursday of ...

Read More »

Legendary Caravans To Be Honored at Quartet Convention

From The Belle Report: January 17, 2006 Legendary Caravans To Be Inducted Into The Hall of FameAt 14th Annual American Gospel Quartet ConventionJanuary 21, 2006 at the East Birmingham Church of God in Christ (COGIC) by Bil Carpenter On Saturday, January 21, 2006, the 14th Annual American Gospel Quartet Convention (AGQC) will induct the legendary Caravans into the organization’s Hall of Fame. The female group was second only to the Clara Ward Singers in popularity in the 1950s. During that period, they enjoyed massive gospel hits such as “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “Walk Around Heaven All Day,” “Sweeping Through the ...

Read More »

NPR’s “All Things Considered” Features Story on Pilgrim Baptist Church

Read about and hear the excellent story Michele Norris of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” did on the legacy of Chicago’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, which fell victim to a devastating fire last week. Featured guest on the January 12, 2006 NPR segment is Robert Darden, author of the gospel music history, People Get Ready : http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5152069

Read More »