Quartet

“What You Gonna Do” – Ruth Black and the Harmonettes

“What You Gonna Do” Ruth Black and the Harmonettes By Bob Marovich On their new single, “What You Gonna Do,” Ruth Black and the Harmonettes of Alexander City, Alabama, ask sinners to consider whether they will be ready when Jesus comes. They mince no words in calling sinners out, either. Peace breakers, drug addicts, “thief in the night,” backsliders, alcoholics lying on the barroom floor—all are summoned not for shaming but for reclaiming souls for Jesus. “What You Gonna Do” has that relentlessly bouncing southern soul quartet groove that moves seamlessly from verses into a vamp that finds the Harmonettes ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 26, 2019

“Moving Forward” Ken Heath & the True Disciples Keep Hope Music (release date: March 29, 2019) By Bob Marovich I’ll admit it: when I first heard Ken Heath shout “Move! Get up out of your seat!” on “Moving Forward,” I did immediately as commanded. The optimistic song about the joy that comes with forsaking the past and embracing a future made brighter by salvation moves with a righteous strut that transitions effortlessly into an extended vamp that sells the song. It’s during the vamp that Heath directs listeners to get up out of their seats and turn their life around ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 18, 2019

“I’ll Do It For You” The Fantastic Bibletones BTones Music (release date: January 29, 2019) www.thefantasticbibletones.com By Bob Marovich Not the Buffalo, New York, group of yesteryear, this Fantastic Bibletones is a female gospel quartet from St. Louis, Missouri, that sounds like a church-honed Sister Sledge. The ladies’ new single, “I’ll Do It For You,” is a bouncy, cheery ode to discipleship with an infectious rhythm section, fine call-and-response, and a bluesy vamp. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, the Fantastic Bibletones re-energized in 2009. They released two ...

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The Golden Gate Quartet – Music Is ? ? ?

The Golden Gate Quartet Music Is ? ? ? Cristal Groupe 2019 www.artisticprod.com By Bob Marovich From the open-ended question that is the title of their new album to the opening track, “Change,” it’s clear that the Golden Gate Quartet is preparing the listener for a different experience. And that’s what the listener gets on the baker’s dozen of selections that comprise Music Is ? ? ?—from traditional quartet to smooth soul/R&B to vocal group harmony. Organized in 1934, the Golden Gate Quartet helped popularize the rhythmic jubilee quartet sound through its many recordings, national radio broadcasts, appearances in films, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 25, 2019

“Blessing Me” CHurCHicago Independent (release date: February 8, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/Churchicago By Bob Marovich The first couple of singles by CHurCHicago left me regretfully nonplussed, but their latest, “Blessing Me,” is a different story. A drive-tempo selection fitted with a fiery vamp and feisty guitar licks, “Blessing Me” is a plea for continued blessings in spite of our fumbling and failings. Planting their petition firmly in the here and now, CHurCHicago seeks blessings while driving, “sweeping the floor,” “cooking dinner,” “walking through the grocery store,” and even “taking the kids to school.” Nor is their request selfish—they ask for blessings on ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2019

“Anchored”God’s PosseIndependent (release date: January 30, 2019) By Bob Marovich Acknowledging at the outset that “Anchored” is actually an old song with a new twist, God’s Posse of Chicago proceeds to provide an up-tempo reading of said old song, complete with soft harmonies, a lead-trading vamp, and contemporary arrangement. The metaphoric “Anchored” teaches that, in the midst of life’s storms, it’s best to hitch one’s line to the Lord. The single is yet another reason why God’s Posse is among the city’s top gospel quartets. God’s Posse, itself anchored by the music tutelage of the Windy City Four’s Nelson Larkins, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 21, 2019

“Take Care of You” C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship From the CD He Made a Way (release date: September 9, 2018) https://cjtaylor.org/ By Bob Marovich “Take Care of You” is a drive-tempo selection from C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship, a quartet of young men with old souls when it comes to traditional gospel music. The song is about the earthly and heavenly benefits of living right and praying right. To hammer home the point, Taylor and the group offer the biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43). All told, the song ...

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Troy Ramey, Popular Quartet Lead Singer, Passes Away

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music learned that Troy Ramey, longtime lead singer for the Soul Searchers of Atlanta, Georgia, has passed away. More details will be forthcoming as they are made available. Formerly a house painter, Troy Ramey was first lead for the Soul Searchers since the early 1960s, when they would appear at Bro. Esmond Patterson’s WAOK Gospel Caravan programs. The group first recorded for the local Atlanta label Ziontone and later signed with Musicor, where their 1972 hit, “Great Change,” put the quartet on the national map. By 1976, the group was recording albums and singles for ...

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Lady Beatrice Ward & Angelic Voices: Lord Help Me

Lady Beatrice Ward & Angelic Voices Lord Help Me Independent (release date: March 25, 2018) By Bob Marovich From the lead guitar riffs that open “When Trouble Rise,” and the song’s incessantly chugging rhythm, you know that Lady Beatrice Ward and the Angelic Voices’ Lord Help Me is going to be deliciously old-school. Although a synth is tucked in there, the instrumentation is traditional and suitably supports the female quartet. And when the ladies are not singing at drive tempo, they favor deep southern soul tempos and arrangements. Some selections are quartet standards that the ladies tweak and twist. For example, “It’s ...

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