Reviews

“Jesus Will Fix It” – James Cutts feat. Floyd Mayweather Sr.

“Jesus Will Fix It” (remix) James Cutts feat. Floyd Mayweather Sr. Fight the Good Fight (release date: fall 2019) By Bob Marovich Not every gospel artist can claim to have a world-class boxer in his corner (see what I did there), but James Cutts can. Together, Cutts and Floyd Mayweather Sr., former welterweight boxer who loves gospel music, deliver a quartet-fired remix of their 2017 single, “Jesus Will Fix It.” Mayweather employs up-against-the-ropes fight metaphors to illustrate how Jesus can make a way out of no way. So “don’t quit—no matter how hard it gets.” Throughout, the two trade off ...

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Reba Rambo – Lady

Reba Rambo Lady Provident Label Group / Sony Music (re-release date: December 13, 2019) By Bob Marovich Provident Label Group / Sony Music has just made a beloved recording by Christian singer Reba Rambo available once again, digitally remastered. By 1977, when she released her fifth solo recording, Lady, on Greentree Records, Reba Rambo, the daughter of gospel singers Buck and Dottie Rambo and a member of the Singing Rambos, had been in and out of recording studios for the better part of a decade. Despite initial hesitancy by Reba’s record company to put her solo album out, Lady earned ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 6, 2020

“Another Blessing” The Williams Brothers and Lee Williams & the Spiritual QCs From the Blackberry CD My Brother’s Keeper IV (release date: January 25, 2019) By Bob Marovich This song is almost a year old, so yes, I’m late to the party. Still, it’s never too late to feature a duet between two beloved gospel quartet singers: Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers and Lee Williams of the Spiritual QCS. “Another Blessing” has that shoulder-shaking beat characteristic of both quartet aggregations featured here. The back-and-forth vocalizing between Melvin and Lee at the conclusion is priceless. And when the subject is ...

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“Show Me” – Ms. Ruby

“Show Me” Ms. Ruby ARTX Records (release date: October 28, 2019) By Bob Marovich Written and sung out of heartbreak over the loss of her only son, “Show Me” gives Ruby Settles, aka Ms. Ruby, a chance to shout her troubles over. It’s a sung prayer that moves from gently supplicant (but with a touch of suppressed anger) to passionate shouting as Ms. Ruby seeks strength in the midst of her darkest hour. By the end, after she hears “His voice” giving her the direction she seeks, you get the sense that she is on her way to better days. ...

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The Legendary Beyons – Once I Get to Heaven

The Legendary Beyons Once I Get to Heaven Independent (release date: May 15, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thelegendarybeyons3 By Bob Marovich On Once I Get to Heaven, the Legendary Beyons of Portland, Oregon, delivers eleven selections with the velvetiness of a ‘70s soul vocal group but with a shouting lead vocal, courtesy of Thurtis Channel, of a traditional gospel quartet. The quartet counts such soft soul vocal groups as the Delfonics, Whispers, and Esquires as inspirations, and it shows in its delivery and arrangements. For example, with mellow harmonies punctuated by sultry sax, the title track envisions the entrance to Heaven as a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 31, 2019

“He Never Failed Me Yet” Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir From The Greater Harvest Experience, Vol. 1: Broadcast Edition (release date: October 29, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnellnicholasthegreaterharve By Bob Marovich For decades, Chicago’s Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church has had a touch of Pentecostalism in its worship and music. Though the church hasn’t recorded in quite some time, its Sanctuary Choir recently released an eight-track live project, two years in the making, called the Greater Harvest Experience. The album captures the Bapticostal feel of the church’s worship services. The album includes “He Never Failed Me Yet,” a full-bodied choral workout ...

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The Many – Love > Fear

The Many Love > Fear Plural Guild (release date: November 15, 2019) www.themanyarehere.com By Bob Marovich The Many is a multicultural vocal group based in Chicago and comprised of the talents of Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michele. On their latest release, Love > Fear, they offer their distinctive brand of relaxed Christian pop, complete with warbling organ, tinkling electric piano, a solid rhythm section, and sugary sweet harmonies. As on the group’s 2017 album, All Belong Here, love is the focus of this collection. In “Extravagant Love,” for example, love is abundant and changes everything. On the title ...

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“Jesus What a Wonderful Child” – Richard Davis

“Jesus What a Wonderful Child” Richard Davis From the R2D Music CD Christmas Rhapsody (release date: November 29, 2019) www.r2dmusic.com By Bob Marovich Richard Davis gives the Angelic Gospel Singers’ “Glory, Glory to the New Born King” a contemporary quartet-style makeover, complete with male background vocalists, a vamp, and enough blue notes and traditional turns to complement the robust rhythm section that carries the song along. It’s nice to hear this carol, for decades the most beloved Christmas song in the African American church community, get some attention in 2019. In addition to operating his R2D Studios, Davis is director ...

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“Standing at the Gates” – Erica Reed

“Standing at the Gates”Erica ReedErica Reed (release date: July 12, 2019)www.ericareedmusic.com By Bob Marovich Emoting like a soulful 1960s torch  singer, soprano Erica Reed beseeches the Lord in “Standing at the Gates” to let her enter the gates of glory. She pleads her case, incorporating church aphorisms along the way. She’s persevered through trials and tribulations, she’s done what she was supposed to do, she’s taught, she’s saved souls, and now she’s knocking on heaven’s door. The minimal accompaniment includes introspective riffs on electric guitar, a warmly purring organ, and cooing background vocalists who stick it out even after the ...

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Chip Bailey – The Music in Me

Chip Bailey The Music in Me ABBII Music (release date: April 20, 2019) www.officialchipbailey.com By Bob Marovich Up to this point, Anthony “Chip” Bailey” has been a singer, musician, songwriter, and composer for other gospel artists. In his debut recording, The Music in Me, Bailey proves his own mettle in the spotlight, singing his own songs. Backed by a team of effective vocalists, a chugging rhythm section, and blasts of brass, Bailey delivers full-bodied Rhythm & Praise selections to the live recording audience that gathered at the Resurrection Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Early tracks “I’m Excited” and “Rejoice” pair funky ...

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