5 Stars

Look to the Hills – Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir

Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Look to the Hills Shanachie Entertainment / SRT Entertainment (release date: May 29, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Listening to the title track and lead single of Reverend Luther Barnes’ latest album, I revisited a thought I’ve had for some time: Barnes has emerged as today’s most important representative of traditional-flavored gospel music. The heartwarming and optimistic “Look to the Hills,” made all the more heartbreaking by the recent passing of its co-writer, Derrick Adams, is the latest in a string of hits crafted in the southern choir-tet sound, pioneered by ...

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Calvin Bridges – Gospel Church Generations

Calvin Bridges Gospel Church Generations PNEUMA / Spirit Recordings, Inc. (release date: October 8, 2019) By Bob Marovich Despite its unassuming packaging, Calvin Bridges’ Gospel Church Generations offers plenty of songs, old and new, for choir directors and worship leaders to teach their groups. Bridges, a singer, songwriter, director, and teacher, is perhaps best known for writing Albertina Walker’s career comeback song, “I Can Go to God in Prayer.” He’s written many other songs, too, and has fronted several groups. His new solo album, Gospel Church Generations, recorded live at Chicago’s historic Greater Harvest Baptist Church (Elder Eric Thomas, Pastor), ...

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Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions: Vol. 4

Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions Vol. 4 MDGS Records (release date: March 6, 2020) http://michelledavidandthegospelsessions.com/ By Bob Marovich If you didn’t know better, you’d think that the fourth volume of songs by Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions is a long lost vinyl album from the 1970s, but it’s as recent as today’s breakfast. The disc reunites David, born and educated in New York and living in Holland since 1994, with Holland multi-instrumentalists Onno Smit, Toon Oomen, and Paul Willemsen. The album follows and responds to a series of highs and lows for the aggregation. Highs: Volume 3 earned ...

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Isaac Carree – No Risk No Reward

Isaac Carree No Risk No Reward Shanachie Entertainment Group (release date: March 20, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Isaac Carree has bestowed upon his first solo album in seven years a very accurate title. And in so doing, he has scored his best solo recording to date. No Risk No Reward finds Carree, former member of the genre-bending Men of Standard, pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a gospel album. In fact, the CD is two albums in one. The first part comprises an extended quiet storm expression of love to Carree’s earthly love, wife Dietra. As with Kim Burrell’s ...

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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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Gloria Gaynor – Testimony

Gloria Gaynor Testimony Gaither Music Group (release date: June 7, 2019) www.gloriagaynor.com By Bob Marovich The release of Gloria Gaynor’s gospel album Testimony may have taken some by surprise, but if you know something about her life story, it makes sense. In fact, Gaynor’s signature song, “I Will Survive,” followed an almost career-ending accident that added injury to insult, given her acute financial challenges. And in many ways, the life-affirming message of “I Will Survive” helped men and women with the AIDS virus discover hope and celebrate life as they struggled with the debilitating disease. While not every pop star’s ...

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Out of the Dust – Now More than Ever

Out of the Dust Now More than Ever Independent (release date: September 13, 2019) www.outofthedustmusic.com By Bob Marovich If the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova made a Christian album, it would sound like Out of the Dust’s Now More than Ever. The sophomore release for the husband-and-wife duo Chris and Stephanie Teague offers eleven songs with their trademark bracing rhythms, shimmering music, candy-coated melodies, and pop-oriented harmonies. Their relationship transitioned from marriage to separation, divorce, and remarriage. The journey from devastation to deliverance was the underlying element of their self-titled 2017 debut album. But on Now More Than ...

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Joseph Price & the Prince of Peace Choir – Do You Know

Pastor Willie E. Kirkpatrick Presents Joseph Price & the Prince of Peace Choir Do You Know Prince of Peace (release date: August 2, 2019) www.princeofpeacechurchstl.com By Bob Marovich Though Prince of Peace Baptist Church in Berkeley, Missouri, has served the St. Louis area for nearly a century, its choir just cut its debut full-length recording last October. It’s not that the church’s music ministry hasn’t made a record before; I know of at least one single that its Choral Club released on the Serenity label years ago. This is, however, the first full-length recording by the current iteration of Prince ...

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The Jewell Gospel Trio: Many Little Angels in the Band

The Jewell Gospel Trio Many Little Angels in the Band NarroWay Records (release date: October 18, 2019) www.gospelfriend.se By Bob Marovich (as originally featured in Living Blues magazine) Any discourse on music of the Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Jewell Dominion typically turns to its sacred steel tradition with only incidental mention of the singing that takes place within denominational walls. Filling this void is Many Little Angels in the Band, NarroWay’s superb survey of the Jewell Gospel Trio, a female group from Nashville, Tennessee, raised in this African American Pentecostal sect. The Jewell ...

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William McDowell – The Cry: A Live Worship Experience

William McDowell The Cry: A Live Worship Experience Integrity Music (release date: September 20, 2019) www.WilliamMcDowellMusic.com By Bob Marovich I’ve always felt that Praise & Worship music ought to be recorded live. Since it comes out of the worship experience, why not capture it in this same environment? That’s what William McDowell has done with The Cry: A Live Worship Experience. The advent of digital distribution has made possible an album like this, with a total of eighteen tracks that provide more than two hours of singing and instrumental and spoken word interludes. The album, McDowell’s sixth, was recorded not ...

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