Quartet

JGM Pick of the Week: January 4, 2016

“Use What I Have” Dynamic Abraham Brothers From the album Family Reunion Available on iTunes In the spirit of Psalm 98, the Dynamic Abraham Brothers encourage praising God by making a joyful noise in all the Earth. If you have a harp, trumpet, or cornet, shouts the lead singer, go on ahead and use them. But if you don’t have those instruments, “use what you have.” To the strutting downbeat characteristic of gospel quartets in drive mode, the Abraham Brothers demonstrate how using one’s hands, legs, and even eyes to clap, dance, and witness in praise of God’s blessings are more than adequate ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 28, 2015

“Satisfied” The Fantastic Violinaires Release date: June 30, 2015 Available from digital music stores Like several professional gospel quartets that organized during or before gospel’s golden age, the Fantastic Violinaires are still very much in the soul-saving business. Recharged with new personnel, the quartet founded in Detroit in 1952 maintains its trademark treble harmonies that inspire quartets even today.  And if “Satisfied” is any indication, the group still has plenty of drive in its system. The new single, which piles plaudits upon the Most High for graces bestowed, is vintage Violinaires, complete with piercing, punctuating harmonies, call and response, gritty ...

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Hi-Lite Juniors – A New Beginning

Hi-Lite Juniors A New Beginning Dynasty Productions 2015 https://www.facebook.com/Hilitejuniors/ By Bob Marovich Back in the day, “Junior” quartets were the next generation of singers to come up under the tutelage of a more senior group. Thus, the Seven Star Juniors were the younger proteges of the Seven Stars quartet, and so on. So it is with the Hi-Lite Juniors of Paterson, New Jersey. The quartet was formed in the early 1970s by Milbert “Doc” McKenzie, uncle of the Juniors’ lead singer, Eric McKenzie. Working within the contemporary-traditional blend of Doc’s Gospel Hi-Lites, the Hi-Lite Juniors—now grown men—offer ten selections on ...

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Pilgrim Travelers: Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957

Pilgrim Travelers Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957 Gospel Friend (release date: December 18, 2015) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Per Notini of Gospel Friend has developed a handsome catalog of well-produced collections of classic gospel music that covers quartet, choir, and piano-led groups alike. His latest production, Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-57, spotlights one of the top hit makers during gospel’s golden age: the Pilgrim Travelers. What is most striking about this 27-selection retrospective is how it aurally captures the California quartet as it altered its sound to keep up with the musical times, but without diluting one ounce of ...

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Golden Crowns of Louisville, KY – Come Too Far

The Golden Crowns of Louisville, KY Come Too Far Sharp Records (2015) www.reverbnation.com/thegoldencrowns By Bob Marovich Don’t let the flagrant typo on the cover and CD scare you away. This is a case when the book should not be judged by its cover. As they demonstrate on their new Sharp Records CD, Come Too Far, The Golden Crowns of Louisville, Kentucky, are as good as any of the popular recording quartets on the road today. Their harmonies are tight, the lead singing crackles with emotion, the band is strong, though the use of synth in this and any gospel quartet, ...

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“Heaven Belongs to You” – The Alabama Gurlz

“Heaven Belongs to You” The Alabama Gurlz From 4 Winds Records CD “The Gurlz” Live (2014) www.malaco.com “Y’all ready to go to church?” Stephania Johnson asks the church audience kindly. Not receiving a proper response, she growls in frustration: “Y’all don’t want to go to no church with me!” That does the trick, and the congregation connects with the Alabama Gurlz as they commence with “Heaven Belongs To You,” an evangelistic call-and-response with a jaunty tempo and led by Johnson with demonstrative insistence. The premise is simple: Heaven is yours to lose. It is a singular example of the ladies’ ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 12, 2015

“You Should Have Been There” Virginia Aires www.VirginiaAires.com The Virginia Aires’s new single is a mid-tempo rouser with a backbeat that exudes the sheer joy of personal salvation. The before and after effects of being saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost is a familiar narrative in gospel music. It nearly always receives the spirited vocal and musical treatment that the Virginia Aires employ, and for good reason.  When “your feet get light,” it’s no time for contemplation or drama. About midway through the vamp, the quartet shifts from the personal to the communal, asking how many in the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 14, 2015

“Have You Been Shook” The Sons of the Soul Revivers (2015) https://www.facebook.com/TheSonsOfTheSoulReviversOfSanFranciscoCA San Francisco quartet The Sons of the Soul Revivers barrels down in fourth gear on the drive tempo “Have You Been Shook,” singing with the alacrity of their predecessors, the Soul Revivers. Eschewing electronic keys, programmed drums, etc. for raw propulsion from electric guitar, real drum skins, bass, and shouting vocals, the Sons even sound like the former group. The main phrase is one that actually works better in the passive voice: “Have you been shook by the hand of God?”  The song must do well at live ...

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RIP Percy Griffin – Member of the Swanee Quintet

By Bob Marovich JGM learned today that Percy Griffin, longtime member of the Swanee Quintet of Augusta, Georgia, has transitioned from labor to reward. Mr. Griffin sang with the Swanee Quintet for many years. He attended the United House of Prayer for All People in Augusta, the denomination founded by Daddy Grace, and was a longtime friend of the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown. For a spell, the Swanee Quintet opened for Brown.   FROM MALACO RECORDS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Percy Griffin Lead Singer of the Legendary Swanee Quintet It is with heavy hearts that the Malaco Music ...

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“God Has Done” – Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen

“God Has Done” Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen From the forthcoming album Churchin’ with Chosen (2015) The group’s name suggests it’s a small choir, but make no mistake: Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen is a gospel quartet, complete with shouts, squalls, and leaps into falsetto. On “God Has Done,” the group instructs the listener to trust God, because he’s already done what he said he would do.  They give the song that energizing drive-tempo quartet rhythm—some might call it a “hip slapping” beat, but who hip slaps anymore? One of the “Singing Bishops” featured on a 2008 Light Records CD ...

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