Quartet

JGM Pick of the week: December 6, 2016

“Operator 911” Chris Byrd & the Heavenaires From the album Diversified (released August 2016) Available from digital music outlets Chris Byrd and the Heavenaires dust off and update “Operator,” the Cleveland-based Friendly Brothers’ 1959 classic covered in the 1970s by a cappella vocal group the Manhattan Transfer.  In their hands, it is now known as “Operator 911.” It doesn’t matter that the telephone operator has gone the way of the telephone booth and directory assistance. With a funky, bass-driven beat and a call-and-response vamp (“It’s a matter of urgency / I’m calling 911”), the quartet makes it its own and ...

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Faithful Connection – Thank You

Faithful Connection Thank You (2015) www.faithfulconnection09.com By Bob Marovich Named Quartet CD of the Year at the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, Thank You is a ten-track album by Faithful Connection that blends traditional gospel quartet singing with modern musicianship. The Fredericksburg, Virginia, group pays homage to Tidewater quartet history through its tight harmonies that emphasize the mid-range versus high tenor or bass. The quartet’s harmonies are especially prominent on the title track and on “Come Too Far,” which opens with the classic open guitar strum and features a warbling organ as well as hard singing from guest lead James H. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 26, 2016

“Keep on Praising” Jewell & Converted Independent; release date: September 23, 2016 www.cdbaby.com/cd/jewellconverted The fiery female quartet Jewell & Converted score their second JGM Pick of the Week with “Keep On Praising.” To a handclapping tempo, lead singer Jewell Taylor offers hypothetical personal challenges as Converted responds by chanting “What do you do?” The collective reminds the listener of how the Scriptures answer this and puts it in the vernacular: “lift up your head,” “wear a smile,” and praise your way through. “Keep On Praising” is a traditional shouter near impossible to listen to sitting down, especially during the vamp, when ...

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Temple University Libraries honors Dixie Hummingbirds Guitarist Howard Carroll September 29

Philadelphia, PA, September 1, 2016 – September is Gospel Music Heritage Month, and on Thursday, September 29 at 2:00 p.m., the Blockson Collection of Temple University Libraries will present “Gospel Gold: The Golden Era of Gospel Music,” honoring legendary Dixie Hummingbirds guitarist Howard Carroll. Hosted by Gospel Highway Eleven (WNAP 1110 AM) Radio DJ Linwood Heath, the program will include gospel music by the Sons of the Birds and special guest speaker, the Reverend Joe Williams. Howard Carroll, affectionately known as the “Father of the Gospel Music Guitar,” is the oldest living member of the Dixie Hummingbirds gospel group. Mr. ...

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Crowns of Joy – Back to the Basics

Crowns of Joy Back to the Basics (private press – 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/thecrownsofjoy By Bob Marovich The Pheba, Mississippi-based Crowns of Joy’s Back to the Basics album promises “old school—new flavor.” It delivers on its promise, largely through its “Trumpology” medley of drive-tempo hits of the past. The Rhythm of Gospel Award-nominated Crowns of Joy was organized in 1980 by the late Reverend Tom Bill Avant, a veteran quartetter who was organizing singers back in the late 1950s when he presented a neighborhood group called the Five Gospel Wonders. Tommy and Victor Avant, Bud Townsend, and primary lead singer Wayne Wooten ...

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The Gospel Sensations: Trendsetting With Old School Harmonies

By Bob Marovich To carve out a niche in a quartet community crowded with local and national artists, the Gospel Sensations are employing a time-honored principle that has been all but abandoned in gospel music. A cappella harmony singing. That’s right: trendsetting by going back to the way gospel quartets sang prior to the 1950s: without musical instruments. And people like it. “Sometimes music takes a more commercial turn, and I get that,” said Robert C. Marion Jr., member of the Gospel Sensations. “It takes money to finance a ministry, but the a cappella sound, when it is done right, ...

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“Your Life’s About to Change” – The Canton Spirituals feat. Pastor Tim Rogers

“Your Life’s About to Change” The Canton Spirituals feat. Pastor Tim Rogers From the Malaco CD Keep Knocking (2016) www.malaco.com On “Your Life’s About to Change,” the veteran Canton Spirituals get down to spiritual brass tacks with able solo assistance from Pastor Tim Rogers (Tim Rogers & the Fellas). Turning on the story of a single mother struggling to care for her children, the assemblage rolls up its collective vocal sleeves, lays down a languid tempo, and sings about the one Father who knows how much we can bear and will never let us down. No prosperity theology here, no ...

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Greg Delaine with Brother 2 Brother – 99 1/2 Won’t Do

Greg Delaine with Brother 2 Brother 99 ½ Won’t Do Trumpet Records LLC (2016) www.gregdelaine.com By Bob Marovich On 99 1/2 Won’t Do, Central Florida contemporary gospel quartet Greg Delaine and Brother 2 Brother combines sweet harmonies with hard lead singing and plenty of preaching/testifying. What they have done on this, their latest album, is to recreate the informality of the live program in the recording studio. Extended stories and vamps are techniques quartets use to play to the audience; Brother 2 Brother does it here, but sans audience. The lyrics present simple truths by blending church wisdom, personal belief, movable couplets ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Believe in His Promises

Mighty Men of Faith Believe in His Promises N2L Records (2016) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Since forming at a 2009 Men’s Day Celebration in Palo Alto, California, Wendell Basey and the Mighty Men of Faith have recorded a handful of albums and have garnered several honors, including two at last year’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards, one being for Quartet CD of the Year for 2014’s Nothing But Grace. The Mighty Men of Faith’s new album, Believe in His Promises, finds the indie group working within its trademark neo-quartet sound—bright, chirpy arrangements with plinky piano and frequent lead vocal exchanges between ...

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RIP: Wilbert Williams (Mighty Clouds of Joy, Mighty Sanfordaires)

From Dexter Hinson, Minister of Music, Pee Dee Union Baptist Church of Cheraw, South Carolina: Wilbert Williams of Sanford, North Carolina, passed away on Saturday, May 14. He was the front man of his family group, Eddie and The Williams Brothers, named after his late father. Most of the quartet’s early records credit the group as “Eddie and The Williams Brothers” or “The Williams Brothers of Sanford.” They later changed their name to the Mighty Sanfordaires so as not to be confused with the other, more famous, Williams Brothers gospel music quartet. Wilbert always remained a part of his family ...

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