Quartet

JGM Pick of the Week: May 16, 2016

“Will You Be Ready” Roy & Revelation 4 Winds Records / Malaco (2016) www.malaco.com On their new single, “Will You Be Ready,” Stanley Roy Ladson and his group, aka Roy & Revelation, give Christian eschatology a 1960s party dance beat, making the strong medicine more palatable. Implicit in the Hopkins, South Carolina, gospel quartet’s expression about “my Jesus” is that they are beckoning others to follow from within salvation’s inner circle.  They are saved and want you to be, also. While the radio edit has all the ingredients to sell the song over the air-lanes, the eight-plus minute extended version provides listeners ...

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The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta – Blessed by the Best

The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta Blessed by the Best Sharper Brothers Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta deliver a decent album in Blessed by the Best. Buoyed by crisp electric guitar work from Terrain Foster (first cousin to the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi’s Sandy Foster), the ten selections find the quartet toiling lyrically and melodically in a traditional bent, though the tracklist includes new songs as well as old favorites. One of the new songs, “Oh Lord,” is an unabashed request for Jesus to return. It opens with a cappella singing and transitions ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 25, 2016

“Glorify” The Gospel Starlights (released March 2016) www.gospelstarlights.com The Gospel Starlights of Tifton, Georgia, have been on the gospel highway since 1990. What is distinctive about the quartet is that it is comprised of four women and one man, as opposed to the more typical single-gender quartet structure. It makes sense when you realize that all the members are family: they formed the group in the home of their parents, Bennie Frank and Betty Gean Hill. One could say that the male-female personnel makes it more of a gospel group than a quartet, but make no mistake: on their new ...

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Various Artists – Halo: The One-Derful! Collection

Various Artists Halo: The One-Derful! Collection Secret Stash Records (release date of CD: April 15, 2016; LP available since February 2016) www.secretstashrecords.com By Bob Marovich During the 1950s and 1960s, Chicago record men and brothers George and Ernie Leaner helped transform South Michigan Avenue’s famed “Motor Row” (of auto dealerships) into Record Row. In addition to helping Ernie with their record distribution company on Boul Mich, George Leaner organized One-Derful! Records and several subsidiaries, including one exclusively designated for a gospel music series: Halo. With meticulous detail and in concert with the Leaner Family, Minnesota’s Secret Stash Records has been releasing samples ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 11, 2016

“Old Ship of Zion” The Gospel Sensations From the MCI Music Group album Everybody www.gospelsensations.com This may be the first time a gospel group has landed two Picks of the Week with their first two submissions to the Journal of Gospel Music. And for good reason. “Old Ship of Zion” is another a cappella gem from the Gospel Sensations, who evoke the Mighty Wonders of Aquasco, Maryland’s splendid 1970s version but add chiming harmonies to this chestnut. Organized by Robert C. Marion Jr. as a way to pay tribute to the artists of yesteryear and today, the Gospel Sensations of ...

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Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees – Jesus Is All I Need (Live)

Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees Jesus Is All I Need Sharp Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Zion Jubilees remain the flagship artist for Sharp Records. The quartet’s new CD, Jesus Is All I Need, recorded live in the group’s hometown of Bryan, Texas, proves there is still power in the traditional gospel quartet sound. Since its founding as the Reed Brothers in the late 1950s, the Zion Jubilees has dished out wooden church wisdom steeped in sweet harmonies and hard gospel lead singing. Making records for Stan Lewis’s Shreveport-based Jewel Records in the 1970s, the group ...

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For the Lord – Greater

For the Lord Greater (private press 2015) By Bob Marovich For the Lord may be an unorthodox name for a gospel quartet, but the group has been around for some time and their new album, Greater, demonstrates that the gentlemen are 100 percent gospel quartet with a traditional bent. The quartet appears to favor brisk tempo sing- and clap-along songs, as the album has several, starting with the opening cut, “He’s Alright” and “Blessing On the Way.” “Grip on God” and “Solution is Jesus” also have that rocking rhythm that is quintessentially quartet. Johnavan “Bo Peep” Sauls, the credited songwriter, works ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 14, 2016

“Order My Steps” The Gospel Sensations From the MCI Music Group album Everybody www.thegospelsensations.com A beautiful a cappella rendition of the GMWA Women of Worship’s choral classic from 1994, featuring that rarest of articles in gospel quartet singing today: a bass vocal, and an excellent one at that. Finger popping provides the rhythm while the harmony serves as a solid foundation for the lead singer. Reminiscent of early Boyz II Men. Organized by Robert C. Marion Jr. as a way to pay tribute to the artists of yesteryear and today, the Gospel Sensations of Greensboro, North Carolina, sing gospel songs ...

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“Serve” – The Divine Souls

“Serve” The Divine Souls MCI Music Group Radio servicing: Darrell Jay Jones (darrell@darrelljayjones.com) The message on “Serve” is uncomplicated and well-trodden—the Divine Souls are so grateful for God’s unchanging hands that they are 100 percent committed to serving Him. It’s the soulful vocalizing, especially by the lead singer, Michael Bembo, which sells the single.  The song’s long drawl of an arrangement, the perpetually warbling organ, and the quartet’s dropping to a whisper by the conclusion, evoke the traditional gospel soul style of artists such as the Gospel Four and the Pilgrim Jubilees. From El Paso, Texas, the Divine Souls were ...

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Dynamic Abraham Brothers – Use What I Have

The Dynamic Abraham Brothers Use What I Have New Ham Records By Bob Marovich I don’t know what else the Dynamic Abraham Brothers could possibly have done to make Use What I Have a more archetypal gospel quartet album. First, the quintessential quartet drive tempo quickens the title track as well as the handclapping “God Wants to Move” and “No More Yokes.” Whereas gospel quartet albums today have one, maybe two, drive songs, Use What I Have has three. Second, the lyrics cover well-trodden quartet territory, which means country church wisdom that has been the foundation of gospel music for ...

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