Quartet

The Sons of the Soul Revivers: Live! Rancho Nicasio

The Sons of the Soul Revivers Live! Rancho Nicasio Little Village Foundation www.littlevillagefoundation.org By Bob Marovich The Sons of the Soul Revivers are on a quest to achieve the kind of widespread visibility that the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Fairfield Four have enjoyed for the past three decades. Based on the sound of their new album, Live! Rancho Nicasio, the guys are definitely on the right track. Recorded during two sold out shows at the Rancho Nicasio, a roadhouse in Marin County, California, that specializes in presenting roots music, the album was produced by the Little Village Foundation, a ...

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The Zion Messengers (self-titled)

The Zion Messengers (self-titled) 1500 Or Nothin Gospel (release date: 2013) By Bob Marovich Thanks to Snoop Dogg and his best-selling Bible of Love, gospel music enthusiasts outside of Los Angeles are now familiar with Charles “Uncle Chucc” Hamilton and the Zion Messengers. The quartet is featured prominently on that collection’s “Going Home.” You can hear echoes of the Zion Messengers, circa 2018, on their self-titled and self-produced debut CD released five years earlier. Their vocal strength is especially evident on the album’s drive-tempo numbers such as “After While” and “I’m Depending on You.” As the musicians play out the latter track, ...

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The Wardlaw Brothers – Stand There

The Wardlaw Brothers Stand There TWB Records / New Day Christian Distributors (release date: June 1, 2018) http://www.twb5.com/ By Bob Marovich There are traditional quartets and contemporary quartets. On their new album, Stand There, the Wardlaw Brothers fall within the contemporary category while maintaining links to the traditional side. The album also demonstrates the group’s maturing style as defined by its robust harmonies and song quality. The most surprising aspect of the album, and the most gratifying, is the a cappella singing. The album begins with a snippet of TWB moaning like they are leading an old-fashioned church service. Later, we hear ...

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Endurance (feat. the late Joe Ligon)

Endurance (feat. The Late Joe Ligon) Changed SCCME Records (release date: September 29, 2017) http://musicbyendurance.com/ By Bob Marovich The Stellar Award-nominated gospel quartet Endurance of Houston, Texas, had the mixed blessing of being responsible for Joe Ligon’s last known recording. It was a mixed blessing because they got to work with the iconic lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, but I’m sure that if they had their druthers, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be his last trip to the studio. Nevertheless, on the title track, Ligon’s hard shouting style fits perfectly with Michael Robertson’s own. Like two deacons in spirited conversation, Ligon ...

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Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny: Stand By Me “Live”

Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny Stand By Me “Live” 4 Winds Records / Malaco Music Group (release date: March 2, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Listening to Pastor Terrell Rogers’ rough-hewn lead vocals meet the smooth harmonies of Men of Destiny is like eating salted caramel: they are delicious together. The 4 Winds release, Stand By Me “Live,” captures the young quartet singing at the Prince of Peace Church in their hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas (the Rogers Family founded the church in 1965). There’s plenty of antiphonal singing between Rogers and the quartet. Rogers, who cut his professional ...

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Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. – Palm of His Hand

Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. Palm of His Hand (EP) Ambitious Records (release date: September 9, 2017) By Bob Marovich Anyone who thinks traditional gospel quartet is dead and gone hasn’t heard the Reverend Elijah Baker Sr.’s Palm of His Hand. The octogenarian Baker, together with background vocalists that sound for all the world like a seasoned quartet, deliver material like the Blind Boys of Alabama, complete with antiphonal singing, tight harmonies, and driving musicianship. There are no synthesized sounds here. Propelling the group is the 1970s era combination of grooved-in electric guitar, electric bass, organ, and drums. Baker’s nephew, singer-songwriter ...

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The Zion Messengers – I’m Ready

The Zion Messengers I’m Ready 1500 GOSPEL (release date: September 1, 2015) By Bob Marovich If you’ve heard Snoop Dogg’s gospel album, Bible of Love, you’ve heard the Zion Messengers. They are the young quartet from Los Angeles that sings on Bible of Love‘s “Going Home.” But you don’t get to appear on Bible of Love without gospel music experience. Indeed, the Zion Messengers released their own album, I’m Ready, back in 2015. The quartet sounds just as confident on this earlier album as they do on Snoop Dogg’s. Although endeavoring to make I’m Ready as contemporary as possible, the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 2, 2018

“Trouble Won’t Last” Apostle James Alston & Fellowship https://apostlejamesalston.com/ By Bob Marovich By their name, Apostle James Alston & Fellowship sounds like a P&W group, but they are actually a quartet, complete with Alston’s gravelly lead vocal delivery and gospel chuckle. For “Trouble Won’t Last,” Alston & Fellowship delivers the reassuring message of Psalm 30:5, like so many decades of quartets before them, in the language of the spiritual, “I’m so glad trouble don’t last always.” Of course, the melody and lyrics are different from the spiritual, and the quartet gives their song a bounce appropriate for the joyful sentiment. ...

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Zion Harmonizers – Bringing in the Sheaves

Zion Harmonizers Bringing in the Sheaves Brishermax Zh (release date: March 15, 2014) http://zionharmonizers.com By Bob Marovich Organized in 1939, the Zion Harmonizers are something of a New Orleans institution. Not only has the gospel quartet been a staple at the Crescent City’s Jazz & Heritage Festival Gospel Tent,  but it was instrumental in founding the Gospel Tent in the first place. Bringing in the Sheaves, the Zion Harmonizers’ latest CD and a salute to its 75th anniversary, finds the group blending on a mix of hymns, spirituals, and new gospel compositions. Tracks such as “When We All Get to Heaven” ...

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