Quartet

RIP: Clay Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music learned that Mr. Clay Graham of the legendary gospel quartet the Pilgrim Jubilees has passed away. One of thirteen children born to Columbus and Josephine Chandler Graham, Clay Graham was born August 26, 1936. He would go on to fame as lead singer and sermonette spinner for the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers. Formed in 1944 in Houston, Mississippi, the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers (later shortened to the Pilgrim Jubilees, or the “Jubes”) began as a family quartet consisting of brothers Theophilus “Hoppy” Graham and Elgie C. B. Graham, cousin Monroe Hatchett and cousins-in-law Willis ...

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Various Artists: Make It Gospel – Chapter One

Various Artists Make It Gospel: Chapter One (release date: October 18, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/makeitgospelchapterone By Bob Marovich Make It Gospel: Chapter One is an independently-produced EP that showcases three “hidden jewel” gospel quartets: one male (Men of Fellowship), one female (New Stars of Faith), and one young group (Psalm 100). All three quartets are quite good, demonstrating that for every gospel superstar, there are thousands of gifted artists throughout the country, trying to be noticed. The meaty vocals and even harmonizing of Men of Fellowship make for enjoyable listening, while the edgy-voiced lead singer of the New Stars of Faith of Durham, North Carolina, sounds ...

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

“Stand by Me” Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny From the 4 Winds Records album Stand By Me “Live” (expected release date: March 2, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich In front of God and a live audience, Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny pray fervently for heavenly assistance on “Stand By Me.” It’s a prayer Rogers utters in the darkness of anguish, in the midst of an internal storm, when friends do him wrong and, he sings, “sometimes I feel like I’m all alone.” Ah, there’s that sacred conjunction, but, which good gospel songs employ to shift the tone ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 26, 2018

“Your Blessing is on its Way” God’s Posse From The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago (EP) Trewworks Music Group/Denzell Music Group By Bob Marovich The Chicago-based quartet God’s Posse offers a traditional drive-tempo workout in “Your Blessing is on its Way.” The infectious backbeat, the singers’ palpable enthusiasm, the muscular music, and the live audience’s handclapping are ideal complements to the song’s message of hope and encouragement. It also points out the importance of recording gospel music in front of an audience or congregation. Gospel music recorded in the studio is fine, but there’s something magical about hearing a ...

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The Divine Souls – Favor

The Divine Souls Favor Independent (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thedivinesouls2 By Bob Marovich “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso” is a gospel quartet named the Divine Souls. Their album, Favor, is a solid collection of ten songs that combine traditional lyrics and themes with modern musical accompaniment. Most pronounced about the Divine Souls is their harmonies. When other quartets are going high above the stave with their harmonizing, a la the Violinaires, the Divine Souls go low. The result is a meatier, more traditional baritone sound. In addition, while some quartet CDs prominently feature the lead singer while the rest of ...

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RIP: Dr. James C. McLean of the Bethlehem Gospel Singers

Angelo Breeden and Archie Swindell Jr. informed JGM that Dr. James C. McLean, a founding member of the Bethlehem Gospel Singers, passed away in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital yesterday evening, February 5, 2018. Hailing from Laurinburg, North Carolina, the Bethlehem Gospel Singers were organized in the late 1950s by Dr. McLean and Archie Swindell Sr. The group enjoyed recording success on Hoyt Sullivan’s HSE label starting in 1969, making noise in 1972 with their two-part “My Bible is Right.” Listen to the track below and please keep Dr. McLean’s family, friends, and fans in prayer.

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The Golden Bells – Thank You

The Golden Bells Thank You www.TheGoldenBells.com By Bob Marovich Much of Thank You, the latest full-length CD release by the Golden Bells of Lexington, Mississippi, is a refashioning of traditional gospel staples into the modern quartet style. Even when the songs are newly-composed and the music meets today’s gospel quartet standards, they retain the old church character in their lyric content. For example, on “Say Something Good,” the Golden Bells prefer to turn the other cheek to their haters, but by reviving some of grandma’s well-worn words of wisdom (“What goes around comes back again”), the group confirms the wisdom ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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