Reviews

Sanctified Soul – Joyful

Sanctified Soul Joyful Rampart Street Music (release date: 2018) www.rampartstreetmusic.com/cd-joyfulss.htm By Bob Marovich Gospel saxophonist Harold Rayford once said that jazz and gospel are first cousins. If that’s so, New Orleans produced some of the first cousins’ earliest progenitors—from King Oliver and Louis Armstrong to Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Griffin. There’s also the New Orleans ensemble Sanctified Soul, which offers helpings of jazz and gospel, as well as soul and R&B. The group lives up to its name on its latest album, Joyful, and the collection of gospel, inspirational, and classic jazz songs lives up to the album title (which, ...

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“Strong Name” – Darius Paulk

“Strong Name”Darius PaulkAIR / Malaco (2019)www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Darius Paulk, perhaps best known for penning Vashawn Mitchell’s number one hit “Nobody Greater,” demonstrated facility as a singer on his own 2012 EP, Lyrics and Melodies (which included his own interpretation of “Nobody Greater”). “Strong Name,” Paulk’s debut single for Malaco’s Atlanta International Records imprint, is an equally extroverted proclamation of worship, a head raised and hands extended offering to the Most High. Paulk’s flights into falsetto are evocative of Mitchell as he navigates the song’s easy melody until the song’s final moments, when a growing musical intensity uncorks his ...

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Roberta Martin Singers: 1947-1962

Roberta Martin Singers Didn’t It Rain / Only a Look / The Old Ship of Zion: 1947-1962 Fremeaux & Associes (release date: February 2019) www.fremeaux.com By Bob Marovich Roberta Martin is to today’s enthusiasts of gospel music what writers like James Joyce and Henry James are to today’s enthusiasts of literature: someone whose work is considered the gold standard, but few take the time to explore the wonderment of their artistic creations. Fremeaux & Associes in France has made it easier to indulge in the work of Roberta Martin and her Roberta Martin Singers. Offering 72 tracks and a 24-page ...

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The Recording Collective – Yes and Amen

The Recording Collective Yes and Amen (release date: February 8, 2019) www.therecordingcollective.com By Bob Marovich The Recording Collective is a largely (perhaps intentionally) anonymous ensemble created by MultiTracks.com, a company that has for more than a decade provided churches with Clicks, Loops, and multi-tracks to give their amateur musicians a professional-sounding sonic boost. Yes and Amen in the third volume in the company’s series of albums and EPs designed, according to The Recording Collective’s mission statement, to “be a resource to worship leaders and listeners in multicultural congregations around the world.” Named for the Bethel Worship hit that is among ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 18, 2019

“I’ll Do It For You” The Fantastic Bibletones BTones Music (release date: January 29, 2019) www.thefantasticbibletones.com By Bob Marovich Not the Buffalo, New York, group of yesteryear, this Fantastic Bibletones is a female gospel quartet from St. Louis, Missouri, that sounds like a church-honed Sister Sledge. The ladies’ new single, “I’ll Do It For You,” is a bouncy, cheery ode to discipleship with an infectious rhythm section, fine call-and-response, and a bluesy vamp. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, the Fantastic Bibletones re-energized in 2009. They released two ...

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William Murphy – Settle Here

William Murphy Settle Here RCA Inspiration (release date: March 15, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich William Murphy uses home court advantage to his best advantage on his sixth and latest solo album, Settle Here. Recorded live on a rainy evening at Atlanta’s dReam Center Church, where Murphy is worship leader, Settle Here offers ten superb P&W songs instead of replicating a worship service, warts and all, in lockstep fashion. For example, the album opens not with the almost compulsory cookie-cutter aerobic praise piece but with Christian artist Zach Williams’ dramatic “Chain Breaker.” The song, recorded previously by Angela “Missy” Billups, ...

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“You Deserve My Praise” – M’Renee

“You Deserve My Praise”M’ReneeFrom the EP You Deserve My Praise (2014)www.mreneemusik.com By Bob Marovich “Chosen” might be the single, but the title track of M’Renee’s EP You Deserve My Praise is more memorable.  It is an uncomplicated rhythm and praise offering that bristles with the sunny electronica and perky beat of today’s pop radio. That’s the way the Richmond, Virginia, songstress rolls. Her arrangements tend to be aerobic, the melodies and lyrics optimistic and encouraging. It’s worship and dance music blended into a ball of steady rolling energy. “You Deserve My Praise” is characteristic of her catalog.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 11, 2019

“Haven’t Seen It Yet” Danny Gokey Sparrow / Capitol Christian Music Group (release date: January 11, 2019) www.dannygokeymusic.com By Bob Marovich After a two-year hiatus, American Idol finalist and CCM star Danny Gokey is back with a new single, “Haven’t Seen It Yet.” The single evokes in melody and arrangement the pop hits of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, while the lyrics about the force of faith have the kind of dance-ready beat that propelled Jamie Grace’s equally motivational 2014 single, “Do Life Big.” Gokey’s album of the same title is scheduled for release in April.

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“I Need You” – Jermane C. Milton

“I Need You” Jermane C. Milton Harmony House Ministries (release date: April 14, 2017) Available on Amazon By Bob Marovich It may be that Jermane C. Milton’s cover of Shirley Caesar’s “This Joy,” made over with slamming funk bass runs courtesy of James Coleman, is the artist’s single and what earned him a 2018 Rhythm of Gospel Award for Urban Contemporary Male Vocalist, but for my money, it’s his “I Need You” that deserves the attention. A simple, light, piano-led melodic praise ballad whose only fault is a more-than-five-minute length, “I Need You” starts undistinguished enough, but Milton and his ...

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The Golden Gate Quartet – Music Is ? ? ?

The Golden Gate Quartet Music Is ? ? ? Cristal Groupe 2019 www.artisticprod.com By Bob Marovich From the open-ended question that is the title of their new album to the opening track, “Change,” it’s clear that the Golden Gate Quartet is preparing the listener for a different experience. And that’s what the listener gets on the baker’s dozen of selections that comprise Music Is ? ? ?—from traditional quartet to smooth soul/R&B to vocal group harmony. Organized in 1934, the Golden Gate Quartet helped popularize the rhythmic jubilee quartet sound through its many recordings, national radio broadcasts, appearances in films, ...

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