Quartet

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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The Gospel Angels – Turn It Around

The Gospel Angels Turn It Around (2012) www.thegospelangels.com By Bob Marovich The Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, have traveled the country and the world for more than three decades, serving up heaping helpings of church wisdom with a savory traditional gospel quartet flavor. Some of the songs on the group’s current album, Turn It Around, are newly composed, but all have an old school vibe. The whole CD rolls along like a live performance without an audience. Opening with the hip-slapping “Let Me Lean on You,” the quartet blends bright tempo numbers with songs that stretch out for several minutes—just as the ...

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The Fairfield Four – Still Rockin’ My Soul

The Fairfield Four Still Rockin’ My Soul Fairfield Four Records (2015) www.thefairfieldfour.com By Bob Marovich In 1925, when the Fairfield Four organized in Nashville, Tennessee, quartet singing was done a cappella. No instruments, just the human voice.  And God saw that it was good. No–great. Over the years, quartets added to the mix an ever-expanding combo of guitar, piano, organ, drums, electric bass, and synthesizer until the music threatened to overpower the vocal harmonies. Whether or not you are a fan of quartet singing with music, we can agree that there’s something seriously magical about hearing a cappella vocal singing. ...

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Various Artists: An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live

Various Artists An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live Malaco/4 Winds www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Malaco Records and its 4 Winds subsidiary are the main standard bearers for gospel quartet singing, a style that once dominated the gospel charts but has since fallen behind mass choirs and small choirs in radio play and album sales. But unlike their secular peers in vocal harmony who retired and only gather for PBS retrospectives, many gospel quartet singers from the golden age are still working the road, albeit with groups comprised of new personnel. Some of the lead singers from quartet’s golden age gathered ...

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“I Know a Man Named Jesus” – Shawn Brown & Da Boyz

“I Know a Man Named Jesus” Shawn Brown & Da Boyz 4 Winds Records (2015) www.malaco.com To a spanking backbeat and driving mid-tempo groove, Shawn Brown & Da Boyz of East St. Louis, Illinois, declare to their live audience that they know a man “who will make a way.” The answer to the rhetorical question is “Jesus,” and Brown and the group hammer home the point by exhorting “Jesus” back and forth during the song’s vamp. Their call-and-response akin to a preacher and his congregation, Shawn Brown & Da Boyz go old school on this neo-traditional composition. The quartet’s live CD, ...

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