Quartet

“Can’t Leave” – The Williams Singers

“Can’t Leave” The Williams Singers From the Blackberry Records CD In Real Time (Release date: March 31, 2017) www.blackberryrecords.com By Bob Marovich The Lord has been so good to the Williams Brothers, they just can’t leave Him. That’s the premise of “Can’t Leave,” the new single from the contemporary gospel trio’s new album, In Real Time. It has all their ingredients: smooth vocals, silky harmonies, and funky instrumentation. Darnell, Dezmien, and Dezrale Williams trade leads as they offer their gratitude to God, all to an easy tempo designed for demonstrating assent than shouting the glory down. Organized by their father, ...

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God’s Posse – The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago (EP)

God’s Posse The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago (EP) Trewworks Music Group/Denzell Music Group (2017) By Bob Marovich God’s Posse is emerging as one of Chicago’s most popular quartets, alongside the Stars of Heaven, the Kinsmen, and the veteran Victory Travelers. Its EP, The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago, is an effort to introduce themselves to an even bigger audience. The seven tracks on the EP were originally released on the group’s 2011 album of the same title, but they are not cuts from Nelson Larkins, God’s Posse’s founder and leader, who retired in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 17, 2017

“Touch Me” Ronica & the Blazing Stars MoDa Records (2017) RonicaTheBlazingStars@gmail.com By Bob Marovich “Touch Me” by Ronica & the Blazing Stars has the relentless up-tempo quartet backbeat and chugging guitars that recall the days when standard musical accompaniment and Holy Ghost-inspired singing were all you needed to move a congregation and shout the glory down. From Mooresville, North Carolina, lead singer Ronica Bowers evokes gospel stompers Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and Dottie Peoples. During the vamp, she cries out for anointing “in this mean old world” so she is healed and can sing and shout right (she does a pretty good ...

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“My Life Has Been Changed” – Virginia Aires

“My Life Has Been Changed” Virginia Aires Dove Records (2017) www.virginiaaires.com The latest single by the Virginia Aires features lead singer Charles Stanley evoking the vocal playfulness of Rance Allen by shifting abruptly from falsetto to bass and from legato to staccato. “My Life Has Been Changed” describes the mental, physical, and spiritual changes brought about by salvation. It benefits from a traditional rocking chair tempo, Roberta Martin-esque transitions, and a live audience. Stanley really rustles the audience when he shouts, “I’m so glad God gives second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances!”

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Favour – Fisherman

Favour Fisherman Sharlat Records (2016) www.sharpradiogospelsuperfest.com By Bob Marovich On Fisherman, their six-track EP, Detroit quartet Favour is all about getting you ready…for your blessings, for a miracle, and for the day Jesus returns. Favour is a sweet-singing quartet with the smoothness of Atlantic Starr and the Manhattans, though Shawn Upshaw’s lead vocal incorporates traditional gospel techniques. So do the lyrics, which fit squarely in the quartet mode of preaching, teaching, and in Favour’s case, preparing. Indeed, two songs telegraph preparation in their titles: “Better Be Ready” and “Things are Gonna Happen.” And in “How I Know,” the group sings that ...

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“Step Back, Watch God Move” – Minister R.L. Taylor and the Sons of the Father

“Step Back, Watch God Move” Minister R. L. Taylor and the Sons of the Father Independent (release date: November 1, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/Artist/MinisterRLTaylorandtheSonsofth A song that just aches for quartet choreography. To a loping backbeat, “Step Back, Watch God Move” teaches that when problems get too tough for you to handle, just let God take over. The chorus hook, “step back, just wait, and watch God move,” offers an ideal pantomime opportunity for the Sons of the Father to do in live performance, especially at the end of the song, when the group and Minister Taylor engage in some slightly syncopated ...

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Dave Bass – The Welcome Table

Dave Bass The Welcome Table DNB Associates (1997) www.cdbaby.com/davebass By Bob Marovich Although he recorded The Welcome Table twenty years ago, gospel singer and songwriter Dave Bass is promoting his quartet-inspired album to a new generation of listeners. The eight radio-sized selections on The Welcome Table sound like nostalgic reflections by a revivalist vocal harmony group, the kind that appears on TJ Lubinsky’s PBS specials. The songs have a latter-day Soul Stirrers vibe, with Bass channeling Sam Cooke’s elastic tenor but without his trademark yodel. Bass is accompanied by an uncredited quartet and contemporary musical backdrop. The title track as ...

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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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Kinsmen: Creating Family Harmony

By Bob Marovich From their genesis in the Vasser Family basement to their forthcoming debut as television actors, the men of Kinsmen demonstrate how a family that sings together stays together. Around 1985, Robert Vasser, a member of Rev. Dr. Clay Evans’ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, gathered his sons Kevin and Keith and their first cousins, Van Moody and Reggie Tillman, to try their hand at gospel singing. The quartet of young men stood in the Vasser basement and worked on emulating one of Robert’s favorite groups, the Mighty Clouds of Joy. “We started singing around the record player,” ...

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