5 Stars

Stay Connected – The Choirs of Trinity United Church of Christ

The Choirs of Trinity United Church of Christ Stay Connected Unashamed Media Group (release date: February 28, 2017) Available on Amazon.com, itunes, other digital outlets. The hard copy with the 36 page color booklet will be available at the church by March 3, 2017, through its bookstore and website. By Bob Marovich Disc One of Stay Connected, the forthcoming two-disc project from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ music and arts ministries, is alone sufficient to declare the project excellent. That it contains two discs makes it spectacular. It has been fifteen years since the South Side church has released ...

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Edna Gallmon Cooke – My Joy: Rare Recordings 1948-1966

Edna Gallmon Cooke My Joy: Rare Recordings 1948-1966 Gospel Friend (release date: February 27, 2017) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Edna Gallmon Cooke may be one of the most underappreciated female vocalists of gospel’s Golden Age. Although her voice was small when compared to belters like Mahalia Jackson, Emily Bram-Bibby, and Ernestine Washington, what Cooke lacked in volume she made up for in finesse. She stirred church congregations by starting her performance soft and slow and building to a fiery crescendo. She knew when to shout, when to drop into a bluesy disposition, when to evangelize, and how to work with ...

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Miami Mass Choir – Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center

Miami Mass Choir Miami Mass Choir Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center MaJo Records (release date: December 9, 2016) Available from online music retail outlets By Bob Marovich Having fun while worshiping is the overall impression one gets listening to Miami Mass Choir Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center, the choir’s latest full-length release in some fifteen years. And I don’t mean frivolous fun, but a bouncy joie de vivre from enjoying the worship experience. In other words, no new age religion, no extended moments of quiet rapture, no overly complex arrangements, no whispering all over the place.  It’s about extroverted ...

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Various Artists: WOW GOSPEL 2017

Various Artists WOW GOSPEL 2017 RCA Inspiration (release date: January 27, 2017) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the annual WOW GOSPEL collection was my personal tutor for learning about the gospel scene. Back in those days, I was focused exclusively on vintage gospel music, and particularly the contributions of quartets. I looked forward with great anticipation to the next WOW GOSPEL project so I could take another lesson in modern gospel. I often purchased the two-CD set the day it was released. It was through WOW GOSPEL that I first encountered Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise,” Mary ...

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Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900

Various Artists Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900 Archeophone Records (release date: September 30, 2016) www.archeophone.com By Bob Marovich There is something quite thrilling about hearing voices singing and speaking from more than a century ago. Those crackly, trebly vowels and consonants, like faraway voices over an old telephone, preserved on cylinder and discs like insects in amber, are just as hauntingly fascinating today as they must have been rousing for those who listened to them in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hearing the voices of historic figures on record brings them back to life. Richard Martin and ...

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Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship – What A Legacy

Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship What a Legacy Rev. Clay Evans Heritage Series (2016) By Bob Marovich “Give me my flowers while I am still here,” the Consolers instructed in 1955, “so I can see the beauty that they bring.” What a Legacy, a collection of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir tracks never before released on CD, is one way a legion of friends and fans are giving their flowers to the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, who turned 91 this year: by preserving some of the classic musical moments of Fellowship, aka “The Ship,” the church he founded in ...

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Mahalia Jackson – Moving On Up a Little Higher

Mahalia Jackson Moving On Up a Little Higher Shanachie / Spirit Feel (release date: September 30, 2016) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Moving On Up a Little Higher may well be the finest collection of Mahalia Jackson selections ever released, and ranks among Anthony Heilbut’s best produced music projects to date. It’s certainly the most historic gathering of Mahalia’s work. When I say this CD of 22 previously unreleased tracks covers 1946 to 1957, hardcore traditional gospel music fans will know what I mean. This is the Queen of Gospel Music in her prime—no Mitch Miller, no Percy Faith. Better yet, the ...

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Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records: 1959-1969

Various Artists Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records: 1959-1969 NarroWay Records (2016) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Gospel music has had many multi-taskers, chief among them the late Brother Henderson of Los Angeles, California. In the late 1950s, Sylvester C. “Duke” Henderson forsook his R&B singing career, hung up his rock and roll shoes, and plunged headlong into sacred music. He ran the popular All Gospel Record Store in L.A., hosted his own gospel music radio show on 50,000 watt XERB, wrote and published songs, promoted concerts, and headed up two record labels: Proverb and Gospel Corner. Despite Henderson’s prolific ...

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Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters

Various Artists Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters The Sirens (release date: July 11, 2016) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Those who think traditional gospel music is dead, hapless victim of today’s P&W and urban AC influences in sacred music, The Sirens’ new release, Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters, is proof that the music of Thomas Dorsey and Roberta Martin is as alive and bracing as ever. On August 20, 2015, The Sirens Records owner Steven B. Dolins brought together a battery of the city’s leading keyboard artists and singers: Pastor Bryant Jones, Richard Gibbs, Elsa Harris, Lavelle Lacy, ...

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Shirley Caesar – Fill This House

Shirley Caesar Fill This House Entertainment One Music (release date: June 3, 2016) www.shirleycaesar.com By Bob Marovich From its days as a seedling in the American soil, black sacred music has been a balm to soothe the sin-sick soul as well as the soul beaten down by life’s humiliations and insults. Even in a time when praise and worship reigns supreme in gospel music, there is still a need, especially given the condition of the black man and woman in modern America, for inspiring songs of hope and encouragement. Pastor Shirley Caesar has been lifting such songs for more than ...

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