Quartet

JGM Pick of the Week: October 15, 2018

“Time to Climb” Lee Walker and Spirit CCLT Records (release date: July 2, 2018) http://leewalkerandspirit.com By Bob Marovich The group name suggests a male-led small choir but make no mistake: Lee Walker and Spirit is made of solid quartet muscle. Appropriately, the “moving up to higher ground” theme of their latest single, “Time to Climb,” is delivered in drive tempo. The instrumental and vocal rhythm evoke the euphoria of climbing up a heaven-bound ladder one rung at a time. From Virginia, or as he announces on “Time to Climb,” “born in the country,” Walker worked with the Echoes of Glory of ...

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“The Man” – Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson

“The Man” Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson From the CD Keep Pushin’ Shanachie / SRT Entertainment www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Quartet maven Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson’s latest single, “The Man,” wraps a story about a man seeking salvation in smooth soul harmonies that hearken back to ‘70s quartet singing. Johnson’s vocal shifts from punchy and straightforward to excited shouting as he witnesses the man transition from sinner to saved. Lots of confident swagger loaded into this one. The single follows “Keep Pushin’,” the initial single and title track of Johnson’s latest offering on Shanachie / SRT Entertainment.

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New Evelyn Turrentine-Agee Single Declares “God Gave His Best”

By Bob Marovich Written and produced by her son, Curtis Turrentine Jr., Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s “God Gave His Best” will be released Friday, October 5. It’s the latest single from the Queen of Quartet, whose gospel music career spans several decades. Evelyn told the Journal of Gospel Music that her singing ministry began at the tender age of two. “At two years old, I was singing so much that my dad would take me to church. He’d hold me up in his arms and say, ‘Sing baby!’ My favorite song to sing was ‘Thank You, Jesus.’ People would just shout! At first I thought, ‘What’s the matter with ...

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Apostle James Alston & Fellowship – The Movement

Apostle James Alston & Fellowship The Movement Independent (release date: August 10, 2013) By Bob Marovich Wooden church songs about faith, hope, and gratitude are at the heart of The Movement, the debut release by Portsmouth, Virginia’s Apostle James Alston & Fellowship. Although the name of the group suggests a male-led small choir, Apostle James Alston & Fellowship sounds to my ears like a mixed voice quartet. Shanita Bell is the lone female voice in the otherwise male group, with Apostle Alston delivering the meaty lead vocals that evoke the southern soul quartet tradition. How the group handles its two ...

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The Sons of the Soul Revivers: Live! Rancho Nicasio

The Sons of the Soul Revivers Live! Rancho Nicasio Little Village Foundation www.littlevillagefoundation.org By Bob Marovich The Sons of the Soul Revivers are on a quest to achieve the kind of widespread visibility that the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Fairfield Four have enjoyed for the past three decades. Based on the sound of their new album, Live! Rancho Nicasio, the guys are definitely on the right track. Recorded during two sold out shows at the Rancho Nicasio, a roadhouse in Marin County, California, that specializes in presenting roots music, the album was produced by the Little Village Foundation, a ...

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The Zion Messengers (self-titled)

The Zion Messengers (self-titled) 1500 Or Nothin Gospel (release date: 2013) By Bob Marovich Thanks to Snoop Dogg and his best-selling Bible of Love, gospel music enthusiasts outside of Los Angeles are now familiar with Charles “Uncle Chucc” Hamilton and the Zion Messengers. The quartet is featured prominently on that collection’s “Going Home.” You can hear echoes of the Zion Messengers, circa 2018, on their self-titled and self-produced debut CD released five years earlier. Their vocal strength is especially evident on the album’s drive-tempo numbers such as “After While” and “I’m Depending on You.” As the musicians play out the latter track, ...

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The Wardlaw Brothers – Stand There

The Wardlaw Brothers Stand There TWB Records / New Day Christian Distributors (release date: June 1, 2018) http://www.twb5.com/ By Bob Marovich There are traditional quartets and contemporary quartets. On their new album, Stand There, the Wardlaw Brothers fall within the contemporary category while maintaining links to the traditional side. The album also demonstrates the group’s maturing style as defined by its robust harmonies and song quality. The most surprising aspect of the album, and the most gratifying, is the a cappella singing. The album begins with a snippet of TWB moaning like they are leading an old-fashioned church service. Later, we hear ...

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Endurance (feat. the late Joe Ligon)

Endurance (feat. The Late Joe Ligon) Changed SCCME Records (release date: September 29, 2017) http://musicbyendurance.com/ By Bob Marovich The Stellar Award-nominated gospel quartet Endurance of Houston, Texas, had the mixed blessing of being responsible for Joe Ligon’s last known recording. It was a mixed blessing because they got to work with the iconic lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, but I’m sure that if they had their druthers, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be his last trip to the studio. Nevertheless, on the title track, Ligon’s hard shouting style fits perfectly with Michael Robertson’s own. Like two deacons in spirited conversation, Ligon ...

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

Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny Stand By Me “Live” 4 Winds Records / Malaco Music Group (release date: March 2, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Listening to Pastor Terrell Rogers’ rough-hewn lead vocals meet the smooth harmonies of Men of Destiny is like eating salted caramel: they are delicious together. The 4 Winds release, Stand By Me “Live,” captures the young quartet singing at the Prince of Peace Church in their hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas (the Rogers Family founded the church in 1965). There’s plenty of antiphonal singing between Rogers and the quartet. Rogers, who cut his professional ...

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Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. – Palm of His Hand

Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. Palm of His Hand (EP) Ambitious Records (release date: September 9, 2017) By Bob Marovich Anyone who thinks traditional gospel quartet is dead and gone hasn’t heard the Reverend Elijah Baker Sr.’s Palm of His Hand. The octogenarian Baker, together with background vocalists that sound for all the world like a seasoned quartet, deliver material like the Blind Boys of Alabama, complete with antiphonal singing, tight harmonies, and driving musicianship. There are no synthesized sounds here. Propelling the group is the 1970s era combination of grooved-in electric guitar, electric bass, organ, and drums. Baker’s nephew, singer-songwriter ...

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