Quartet

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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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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