Quartet

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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The Gospel Angels – I Still Remember

The Gospel Angels I Still Remember Next Level Publishing (2004) www.thegospelangelsdc.com By Bob Marovich I Still Remember has been around for more than a decade—it was released the year the Journal of Gospel Music was born, in fact—but this album by the Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, is worth revisiting because it is emblematic of how much musical fun saving souls can be. First, of the eleven tracks, five are up-tempo selections, more hip-slapping than just about any gospel quartet CD I’ve heard in a long while. One might conclude that the high percentage of “drive tempo” songs is because ...

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Rev. J.C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy – Don’t You Forget to Remember

Rev. J. C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy Don’t You Forget to Remember Sharp Records (2015) www.sharprecordsusa.com www.reverbnation.com/revjcjenkinsthesoundsofjoy By Bob Marovich The Sounds of Joy, featuring the hard-singing lead vocals of Rev. J. C. Jenkins, is a nod to the deep southern soul quartet sound of the 1970s and 1980s. The major seventh Northern Soul harmonies combined with Jenkins’ pulpit-hued raspy lead vocals are most evident on “He’s Done It All for Me,” the opening track on the group’s Sharp Records album, Don’t You Forget to Remember. The song’s recounting of biblical miracles establishes the premise that if He did it ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2015

“In His Hands” The McDonald Sisters Ra-Ola Music Inc. (release date: April 1, 2015) A family group with more than 30 years of gospel singing experience, the McDonald Sisters of Fayetteville, North Carolina, continue to represent traditional gospel quartet with their new single, “In His Hands.” To an aisle-walking, handclapping tempo propelled by distinctive southern soulfulness, the ladies put their burdens and their deliverance in God’s hands. They instruct listeners to do the same. They know whereof they speak. Members Valerie, Deborah, Evelyn, Pamela, and matriarch Priscilla have survived cancer, a stroke, and a ruptured appendix, among other challenges. The ...

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Perfection – “Totally”

Perfection “Totally” Malaco Music Group (2015) www.malaco.com On “Totally,” the members of contemporary quartet Perfection (“Word of God Speak”) declare that they are tired of fighting fate and henceforth give themselves over completely–hands, feet, and heart–to God’s will. “Less of me and more of you” is the new order, sing the group, to a robust modern arrangement. From Tennessee, Perfection is Steve Maples, Gerrod Allen, Christopher Williams, and Kelvin Lake. Tragedy struck the group this past February. Not long after the release of “Totally,” the group’s beloved manager, Barron “Baba” McGlothlin, passed away. Charles Winton Jr. is now managing the quartet.

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Boyz of Triumph – Praise His Name

Boyz of Triumph Praise His Name Sharp Records (2015) www.reverbnation.com/theboyzoftriumph By Bob Marovich The Boyz of Triumph from Sycamore, Alabama, is a seven-member gospel quartet that blends the close harmony tradition with the contemporary gospel style. The harmonies are front and center on Praise His Name, the quartet’s nine-track disc for Sharp Records. With its medium tempo and falsetto flights from the lead singer, the bouncy title track is as good an example as any of the group’s aural fingerprint. The harmonies are especially robust whenever the musicians pause and the group sings a cappella, which doesn’t happen nearly as ...

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Not By Bread Alone: Gospel Quartets and Food Sponsorships in the South

In a fascinating article for the Southern Foodways Alliance, Carrie Allen Tipton tells the story of how quartets used to sing products off the shelves and into American homes. Harmony to sell hominy? http://www.southernfoodways.org/your-weekly-pop-not-by-bread-alone/ Carrie Allen Tipton writes and lectures about classical music, American popular music, religion, and Southern culture.

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