Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: September 20, 2021

“Jesus Christ is Lord” Carmella Green Cloud Records (release date: December 18, 2020) www.cloudrecordsllc.com By Robert M. Marovich “Jesus Christ is Lord” by Carmella Green is another outstanding sacred single from Cloud Records, an emerging label with a small but mighty roster of accomplished vocalists. Despite being a soprano, Carmella Green delivers this song in a deep, dramatic voice, like a trained senior choir soloist. She does toss in a few vocal flowers, mostly at the end, but in general, she sings the worship opus in an operatic style. With its text drawn from Philippians 2:10-11 (“every knee shall bow, ...

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“Making Angels” – Tracy Worth

“Making Angels” Tracy Worth Independent (release date: September 10, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Tracy Worth, but the South Suburban Chicago singer sounds as if her voice hasn’t changed one day from her 2010 video “Christ Is All” or, for that matter, her 2005 radio hit, “I’ll Follow You,” featuring Melvin Williams. Despite the angelic title, the plaintive song is a plea for a stoppage of the violence that too often takes the youngest among us. “God don’t need no help making angels,” Worth declares, and she’s right. “We’re gonna lose a ...

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“Help Me” – Jerrell Golden (ft. Romane Scott)

“Help Me” Jerrell Golden (ft. Romane Scott) From Imago Dei Records CD Jerrell Golden (release date: July 30, 2017) By Robert M. Marovich Tappahannock, Virginia, holy hip hop artist Jerrell Golden preaches through his rhymes on “Help Me.” When people suffer from compassion fatigue in a world so cold that “July can be December,” giving up is a tempting option. Others want to help but they cannot. That’s because, Golden reminds the listener, “first we have to learn to follow before we can lead.” There‘s a teaching moment. Between Golden’s stanzas is Romane Scott’s pleading tenor, amplifying the feelings of ...

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Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers – Somewhere Beyond the Blue

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers Somewhere Beyond the Blue Billy Blue Records (release date: May 7, 2021) www.radioramblers.com By Robert M. Marovich On the eleven-track Somewhere Beyond the Blue, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers offer southern gospel singing bluegrass style in the tradition of the Louvin Brothers, Carl Story, and the Lewis Family. Tight harmonies, dynamic banjo solos, and keening fiddle runs support southern gospel songs from the pens of such stalwart songwriters as Vep Ellis, Bill Anderson, and Marty Stuart. In general, the songs are sermonettes on the virtues of a good life and the promise of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 13, 2021

“I Am Strong” Capathia Jenkins Cloud Records (release date: June 11, 2021) http://www.cloudrecordsllc.com/ By Robert M. Marovich “I Am Strong” by Capathia Jenkins is an excellent song, marvelously sung, perfectly arranged and produced, and with a message about courage that transcends the purely spiritual. The Brooklyn-born singer has performed with several orchestras and has a list of acting credits as long as your arm. These include creating the character of Harriet Jackson in the vastly underrated Broadway musical, The Civil War, and the character of The Washing Machine in Caroline, or Change. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award ...

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“I Will Call Upon the Lord” – Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II & the Hallelujah Singers

“I Will Call Upon the Lord” Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II & the Hallelujah Singers (release date: September 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Whenever I hear “I Will Call Upon the Lord,” the latest single from Detroit choir Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver & the Hallelujah Singers, I am reminded of the city’s iconic Joe Louis Fist sculpture. The song exemplifies in lyric and arrangement the majestic might of that fist. The song’s testimony to resilience “during these perilous times” and the choir’s steadfast faith in the Lord in the midst of their enemies are manifested in thunderous staccato singing ...

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“I’m Yours” – Leah Oduro-Kwarten

“I’m Yours” Leah Oduro-Kwarten Independent (release date: August 13, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Like Leah Oduro-Kwarten’s 2018 single “He Worked It Out,” her new outing, “I’m Yours,” is expansive in production and extroverted in delivery. Unlike her previous single, it moves with a more contemporary strut. Leah delivers the song’s premise—a request for conversion from an old life to a new and more fulfilling one—with the same outpouring of passion she showed while leading 2016’s “All Power” for Dr. Cynthia Nunn and the Illinois Midwest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Mass Choir. While Leah’s sweet spot is churchy traditional gospel, with “I’m ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 30, 2021

“UWait2021” Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry From the Barnyard Records CD Nothing Shall Separate (release date: May 28, 2021) www.BarnYardRecordsllc.com/ By Robert M. Marovich What immediately struck me about “UWait2021” was not its bouncy tempo, its spirited vamp, or its earnest message of encouragement—all important—but the fact that Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry has that rarest of rarities: a bass singer. Said bass singer adds a nice touch, too. Bring bass singers back to quartet! The song was originally released as “U Wait” on the quartet’s self-titled 2008 album. Naturally, since things do not seem to ...

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Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir – Miracles

Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir Miracles Godfather Records (release date: July 15, 2021) www.gracetabernacle.info By Robert M. Marovich For fans of contemporary gospel choirs, and especially for those who wonder where the choir went (it hasn’t gone anywhere) Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir’s new release, Miracles, will delight. Although the audience is mostly inaudible, Miracles was recorded live in Brooklyn’s Christ Fellowship Baptist Church. The husky-voiced Wright, son of the late Reverend Timothy and Betty Wright, has loaded his new album with feature vocalists. For example, the opener, “Justified,” written and led by David ...

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Imari Tones – Nabeshima

Imari Tones Nabeshima Sliptrick Records (release date: July 6, 2021) www.imaritones.net By Robert M. Marovich “Japanese Traditional Christian Metal” are four words you rarely see joined together, unless you know about the Imari Tones. Nabeshima is the trio’s latest release, a two-CD set of songs in Japanese and English that combine Japanese Samurai and Christian imagery and beliefs. This trio (two men and one woman) doesn’t fool around. They rock relentlessly. Lead singer Tone wails, shouts, and evangelizes in a high-pitched tenor voice. Snarling guitars, thumping bass, and pounding drums ricochet off the walls, and for Nabeshima, that means for ...

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