Reviews

“I’ve Got Joy” – Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray

“I’ve Got Joy” Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray Fresh Fire Records and Publishing (release date: January 15, 2014) www.reggiecampbell.com By Bob Marovich From Gospel Image Award-winning singer Reggie Campbell’s CD of the same title, “I’ve Got Joy” is an appropriately up-tempo celebration of a fullness of heart. Taking his cue from James 1:2, Campbell sings the glory down in a full but flexible baritone. The quite fantastic Celia King Murray joins him midway through the song to echo the “pure joy” one feels in getting from God “a brand new start.” Later, the background vocalists interpolate the cascading “joy” section from Ricky Dillard ...

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Puchi Colon – We Await (EP)

Puchi Colon We Await (EP) Jovi Music (release date: September 7, 2018) www.puchicolon.com By Bob Marovich On We Await, Puchi Colon, who JGM has cited as the “Miami Sound Machine of Praise & Worship,” steps away from his traditionally zesty, sun-dipped arrangements to present an EP of straightforward P&W. Throughout the 32-minute live presentation, conventional P&W songs uncomplicated in lyric, melody, and arrangement are tagged with animated, almost unceasing, percussion and energetic call-and-response vocalizing. The presence of brass is unmistakable but the players stick to the typical P&W script, not veering into the Latin riffs that distinguished Colon’s previous work. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 13, 2018

“He Worked It Out” The Tommies Reunion Tyscot Records (release date: October 26, 2018) www.tommiesreunion.com By Bob Marovich Darius Brooks, Percy Bady, and a hand-picked group of key members of the Thompson Community Singers from its fifteen-year reign as one of the most influential gospel choirs in America (1982-1997) come together for “He Worked It Out.” Short, simple, and to the point, “He Worked It Out” is the “it’s already done” message bathed in characteristically animated Tommies harmonies, a muscular brass section led by Lloyd Barry, and a rhythmic swagger to catch the attention of those who weren’t even born ...

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CeCe Winans – Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album

CeCe Winans Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album Puresprings Gospel / Thirty Tigers (release date: October 19, 2018) www.cecewinans.com By Bob Marovich With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, new Christmas recordings have begun trickling in. Among the best I’ve heard thus far this season is CeCe Winans’ Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album. One is struck immediately with how much Winans’ voice has deepened in tone since her last solo Christmas album in 1998. She wraps her mellowed voice around the holiday songs on this new release like tongues of flame around a yuletide log. The result is an album as cozy ...

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Jessica Dalla Torre – Into Your Heart

Jessica Dalla Torre Into Your Heart Independent (release date: May 18, 2018) www.jessicadallatorre.com By Bob Marovich Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and with Portuguese roots, the angelic-voiced Jessica Dalla Torre brings her multicultural influences to bear in her worship music. At the same time, her new album, Into Your Heart, was recorded in Nashville and has a distinctly American CCM flavor. The overall vibe of the album’s ten songs is of a living room jam session that occasionally blasts through the roof and explodes like fireworks. This happens whenever Dalla Torre’s emotional singing reaches fever pitch (think Lady Gaga as worship ...

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Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God – Dream Come Alive

Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God Dream Come Alive Cohen Records Available at digital music outlets By Bob Marovich “Born Again,” the drive-tempo opening selection on Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God’s Dream Come Alive, signals that the album is a traditional-leaning project. And it is, though the quartet smooths some of the rough edges to make the music relevant for contemporary audiences. Elder Cohen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Greer, South Carolina, and owner/manager of gospel music radio station WPJM 800 AM, formed the Men of God in 2012. In addition to “Born Again,” Dream Come Alive includes a slow-burner ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 5, 2018

“Waiting on Jesus” True Believers 4 Winds Records (release date: October 23, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich On “Waiting on Jesus,” Castro Coleman and the True Believers exude gobs of enthusiasm about the coming of the Lord. Using the tried-and-true call-and-response format, the group sings about fasting and praying until the great day comes. The song moves with that slow-strutting tempo and the crashing drum backbeat characteristic of deep southern soul gospel quartet singing. The lyrics and music are ready-made for extroverted physical movement by audience and quartet alike. Coleman is no stranger to gospel music. He traces his roots back ...

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“So Good” – Not Easily Broken (NEBS)

“So Good” Not Easily Broken (NEBS) https://www.facebook.com/NEBSisters/ By Bob Marovich The Not Easily Broken Sisters (NEBS) is a cross between a female quartet and a gospel group. On “So Good,” from their self-titled EP, the sisters are effusive about God’s goodness to them. God removed their chains, gave them grace, eliminated cloudy days, and put a smile on their face. Even when they lost their faith, God directed them to get on their knees and proceeded to provide his amazing grace. By the vamp, the four offer a litany of other ways God has demonstrated his goodness: as a doctor, lawyer, ...

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“Thirst 4 U” – Richard Davis

“Thirst 4 U” Richard Davis R2D Music / 9585 Records (release date: April 28, 2017) www.r2dmusic.com By Bob Marovich Water has been, and continues to be, a popular metaphor in spirituals and gospel music. From the Jordan River to the baptismal pool to a manifestation in rain, water represents rebirth and renewal. So it is with Richard Davis’s “Thirst 4 U,” where rain showers down an overflow of blessings. The song is enhanced by an energetic arrangement punctuated by flourishes of brass and smooth jazz overtones. The radio edit leaves out a good portion of the intro section, though for my money, I’d add ...

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The New Christianaires – My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues

The New Christianaires My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues Carter Classic Creations (release date: July 31, 2018) www.thenewchristianaires.com By Bob Marovich I give ample credit to any group that starts their CD with an old hymn and sings it almost a cappella, as the New Christianaires do on My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues. In free time (i.e., no tempo) and with only an improvisatory electric guitar for support, the quartet harmonizes sweetly on “I Need Thee Every Hour.” After that auspicious opening, the New Christianaires put a contemporary spin on both traditional songs and newly-composed numbers ...

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