Prayer List

RIP: Tommie TommyGunn1965 Gunn, Gospel Songwriter, Producer

From a press release: True aficionados of contemporary gospel will count among their favorites gospel greats like Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Martha Munizzi, Commissioned, Darwin Hobbs, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, etc. What some fans may fail to realize is that one of the greatest sonic architects of the genre was Tommie TommyGunn1965 Walker with more than 4 million in song sales to his credit. Sadly, Tommie passed away on February 3, 2017, at 51 years of age, surrounded by family. Tommie passed away after failing to emerge from a medically induced coma brought on by ...

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RIP: Tommy Cotton, Cotton Brothers Founder and Lead Singer

By Bob Marovich Cadillac James of the Cotton Family informed JGM that Tommy Cotton, founder and lead singer for the Cotton Brothers of Macon, Georgia, passed away February 9, 2017. Tommy Cotton was born September 24, 1937, in Marshallville, Georgia, the oldest boy in a family of 16 children. The Cottons worked share and provided field labor wherever needed. Some of the sons started an a cappella quartet group in the mid-1950s. Tommy, who was eventually named the group’s manager, was friends with fellow high school basketball team member Sylvester “Vessy” Huckaby, who served as a bodyguard for Otis Redding. ...

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Jekalyn Carr Launches Support Movement for Sheila Belle of “The Belle Report”

For Immediate Release: ATLANTA, GA (Thursday, December 15, 2016) – – Recording artist Jekalyn Carr has launched a support movement for Richmond, Virginia based nationally syndicated radio personality Sheila Belle as she battles the winning fight against cancer. Carr was inspired to spearhead this support movement after attending Belle’s event last weekend in Richmond called “The Gift” – an event for cancer survivors. She was moved by hearing the winning stories from the survivors as well as Sheila Belle. Watch Jekalyn’s support movement video here: www.facebook.com/jasonmauricehardy/videos/10100700900092599/ Carr is calling a call to action to her fellow recording artists, radio announcers/PDs, ...

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Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy Passes Away: Homegoing Details Announced

By Bob Marovich (UPDATED 12/17/16) Gospel quartet legend Willie Joe Ligon passed away on Sunday, December 11. Homegoing and memorial details are at the bottom of this report. Born October 11, 1936, in Troy, Alabama, Ligon migrated to Los Angeles at age 14 and met his future mates in the Mighty Clouds of Joy in the mid-1950s while attending Jefferson High School.  Like top quartets such as the Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the Gospelaires of Dayton, the Clouds incorporated the growls, shouts, and rasp of African American preachers into their singing, a style sometimes referred ...

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Eric Allen Byrd, Member of Golden Crowns, Passes Away

The Gospel Division of Sharp Records informed the Journal of Gospel Music yesterday that Eric Allen Byrd of The Golden Crowns of Louisville, Kentucky, has passed away. Allen was the quartet’s manager, lead and background vocalist, and songwriter for many years. First organized in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as the Shanklin Brothers, the Golden Crowns made one 45 each for the Wonderful and BJ labels.  In 2015, the Golden Crowns signed with Sharp Gospel. See JGM‘s review of their 2015 release, Come Too Far, here. JGM extends its condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Eric Allen Byrd.

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RIP: Audrey Cher, Gospel Singer

It is with heavy heart that JGM reports the passing of Audrey Lockett LaBranche, known to the gospel music community as Audrey Cher. She recently gave birth to a son, Mathias Amir, on August 26. Click here to read an interview that JGM did with Audrey last year: Audrey Cher. Homegoing information will be provided when available.  Meanwhile, please keep the LaBranche family in your prayers.

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Pastor Van D. Roberson Passes Away

Zadella “Mama” Curtis informed JGM that Pastor Van D. Roberson has passed away. In addition to pastoring the Shiloh Baptist Church in Bryan, Texas, Roberson was a gospel singer in the traditional-quartet style, honed, no doubt, from his years as a member of the Roberson Brothers, which started out prior to 1961 as the Israelite Voices of Peace.  He was also part of the Pastors Chorus of Bryan/College Station, Texas; they recorded the single, “Good to Me,” in 2012. Roberson also sang with the Mighty Clouds of Joy’s Joe Ligon on the 2012 Mother’s Day single, “Momma Remembered.” Below is ...

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Deacon Enoch Franklin, Last Surviving Member of the Gospel Clefs, Dies

Jr. Mack, a musician who has worked with groups from the Allman Brothers Band to the Sensational Six of Alabama, sent this message: I regret to inform you that Deacon Enoch Franklin from Colonia, NJ, has passed away. Enoch was the last surviving member of the Gospel Clefs from Newark, NJ. That’s Enoch singing the first verse of “So Good” and “I Prayed And Got Religion” (The Gospel Clefs / Savoy MG-14053). He also sang “The Lord Saved Me” from The Clefs Savoy MG 14023 album. He is heard again as the second lead singer on “Out Of The Fiery ...

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RIP Rev. Johnny “Hurricane” Jones

From Lance Ledbetter of Dust-to-Digital: Rev. Johnny L. ‘Hurricane’ Jones: 1936-2015 Sad news to report: early Monday morning we lost a gospel music legend. Rev. Johnny L. Jones succumbed to what his family believes was a brain aneurysm. It was one of our greatest honors to work with Rev. Jones on his 2009 album Jesus Christ from A to Z and the 2010 double-album The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta, which the New York Times described in the following way: “Some of these tapes are woolly, with errant screams from the congregation, feedback from the church amplifiers and rough edits, but ...

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