Quartet

RIP Pastor Norris Turner, Quartet Veteran

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music has learned that veteran quartet singer Pastor Norris Turner passed away yesterday evening. He was 81 years old. Norris Turner was born March 19, 1936, in Troy, South Carolina, to Johnnie and Helen Chiles Turner.  As a youngster, Turner sang with various quartets, including the Golden Stars of Greenwood, South Carolina; the Spiritualaires of Columbia, South Carolina; Therman Ruth’s famous Selah Singers of New York; and the Brooklyn All Stars. An article by Damian Dominguez for South Carolina newspaper The Index-Journal notes that when Turner was with the Selah Singers, he performed for President ...

Read More »

The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio: Moving Up – The Early Years 1956-1965

The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio Moving Up – The Early Years 1956-1965 Gospel Friend (release date: November 17, 2017) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio, were one of the hardest singing quartets on the gospel highway during the genre’s storied golden era. The quartet was part of touring packages that crisscrossed the country.  They eventually made it to the stage of the Apollo Theater and across the ocean to Europe. But as popular as the Gospelaires were, scant attention has been paid to them in the CD reissue market. It’s no surprise that Per Notini’s Gospel Friend label, the ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: November 21, 2017

“Come Too Far” New Golden Crowns of Louisville, KY Sharp Records (release date: June 1, 2017) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Organized in 1940 as the Golden Crowns, an a cappella quartet, the New Golden Crowns of Louisville, Kentucky, are comprised of a mixture of new members and a couple of veterans, notably lead singer Reverend Nathaniel Brown (50+ years) and guitar player Reverend Bobby Johnson (30+ years). “Come Too Far” is a drive-tempo hand clapper that riffs on the church catchphrase, “I’ve come too far, I can’t turn around,” as immortalized in the Alex Bradford classic “Too Close ...

Read More »

RIP: Pastor Shawn Jones

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Pastor Shawn Jones of the Alabama quartet Shawn Jones and the Believers. Here is the group’s biography, from their Facebook page: “Pastor Shawn Jones (Formally of The Alabama Spirituals) & The Believers started singing in the year of 2000 at the First Baptist Church in Rockford, AL. They appeared on shows with gospel great like Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s, Rev. Andrew Cheers & The Song Birds, Darrell McFadden & The Disciples, Slim & The Supreme Angels, and Dorothy Norwood. “After a ...

Read More »

“How They Got Over” Receives Award at Chicago Film and Music Festival

How They Got Over, a documentary film by Robert Clem about gospel quartets and their contribution to rock and roll, received the “Best Killer Soundtrack” Award from the ninth Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, better known as CIMMFest. The documentary was shown at the Davis Theater last Saturday afternoon as part of the festival. Gospel legend Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers joined Clem, co-producer Jerry Zolten, and gospel historian Bob Marovich for a brief Q&A session afterward. How They Got Over features interviews from singing stars such as Clarence Fountain (Blind Boys of Alabama), Rev. Thomas Spann (Brooklyn All Stars), Ira ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: October 30, 2017

“God is Making a Change” Endurance From the SCCME CD Changed (release date: September 29, 2017) www.musicbyendurance.com By Bob Marovich Infrequently in Journal of Gospel Music‘s 13-year history has an artist charted two successive Picks of the Week. Houston’s Endurance has done it this time. Last week, we featured the quartet’s “Changed,” featuring a lead vocal cameo by the late Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Endurance’s new single, “God is Making a Change,” is equally effective for its enthusiasm over the change that God has made in the lives of the members. Although the chorus follows the traditional ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: October 24, 2017

“Changed” Endurance feat. Joe Ligon SCCME (release date: January, 2017) www.musicbyendurance.com By Bob Marovich A few years ago, Houston’s Endurance quartet asked Joe Ligon, the legendary lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, to join them on “Changed” (not the Hawkins classic) and tell everyone about the life transforming properties of salvation. Ligon accepted. On “Changed,” he and Endurance’s Michael Robertson first trade leads and then sing to one another like two deacons so engaged in a praise conversation that they are oblivious to the congregation. “Joe, I know what you are singing about,” Robertson shouts in full quartet growl. “It’s ...

Read More »

RIP Howard Carroll – the “Dean of Gospel Guitar”

By Bob Marovich The Reverend Joe Williams informed JGM this morning that Mr. Howard Carroll, longtime singer and guitarist with the Dixie Hummingbirds, and long considered the dean of gospel guitar, passed away this morning in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy community. He was 93. “He did things with the guitar that no one ever did,” Williams told a crowd at Philadelphia’s Clef Club in 2016 during a presentation of the Gospel Guitar Award to Carroll. “No one ever did it in gospel music. He actually changed the way gospel music became because of the original things he did with the guitar. Then some ...

Read More »

Various Artists – Jesus Rocked the Jukebox

Various Artists Jesus Rocked the Jukebox Craft Records / Concord Music Group (2017) http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/jesus-rocked-jukebox-small-group-black-gospel-1951-1965/ By Bob Marovich In addition to its estimable contributions to the religious, social, and political life of African Americans, the church has also been an effective music training school. Untold numbers of men and women have learned to sing or play instruments before discerning but sympathetic church communities. While some singers and musicians committed their musical talent wholly to God, others sought fame in the financially lucrative world of rock and roll and R&B. This exit caused no small amount of consternation among churchgoers who felt that ...

Read More »

Mighty Gospel Inspirations – In Black and White

The Mighty Gospel Inspirations In Black and White Independent Release (2009) http://theboguesound.com/mgi.html By Bob Marovich A cappella quartet singing may not be nearly as widespread in today’s gospel music market as it once was, but it hasn’t gone away completely. For nearly half a century, the Mighty Gospel Inspirations of Durham, North Carolina, have kept the tradition alive. The biracial group’s 2009 release, In Black and White, is a sampling of their harmonistic approach. Representing the quartet on the album are brothers Mike and Ken Sanders, Larry Perry, James Bailey, and Robert Waldrop. In Black and White sounds like someone turned ...

Read More »