CDs

Dottie Rambo – It’s the Soul of Me (remastered)

Dottie Rambo It’s the Soul of Me (remastered) Original release: Heart Warming Records 1968 Provident Distribution/Sony Music (release date: July 30, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich In the year the Recording Academy introduced the Grammy Award category for Best Soul Gospel Performance, the nominees were the Swan Silvertones, the Staple Singers, the Reverend James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, the Davis Sisters, Willa Dorsey, and singer-songwriter and guitarist Dottie Rambo. Rambo, the sole Caucasian in the category, took home the statuette for her Heart Warming Records solo album It’s the Soul of Me. Although the other nominees would have been ...

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Various Artists – Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One

Various Artists Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One Devine Jamz (release date: July 2021) www.devinejamz.net By Robert M. Marovich Here’s something you don’t see that often: an “…and then I wrote” compilation of gospel and praise & worship songs. Produced, arranged, and composed by award-winning songwriter Lee Hawkins, by day a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Gospel Songs Volume One is a collection of well-produced demos of eight Hawkins songs delivered by young and talented artists. Hawkins’ thoroughly contemporary compositions are unvarying, introspective, serious, lyrical, melodic, and with a hint of classical influence. For example, both the unplugged and ...

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Reba Rambo – Lady Live (Digital Reissue)

Reba Rambo Lady Live Entertainment One (original release: 1982; reissue: July 30, 2021) www.rebarambo.com By Robert M. Marovich In June 1981, just months after winning her first Grammy for co-writing and performing on an all-star gospel album called The Lord’s Prayer, Christian singing star Reba Rambo appeared at the Anaheim Convention Center in California for a solo live recording. The product, Lady Live, came out the following year and garnered Rambo yet another Grammy nomination, one of nine in total for the singer thus far. Remastered from the original tapes, the album is being reissued in digital form July 30. ...

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Jason Clayborn & the Atmosphere Changers – God Made It Beautiful

Jason Clayborn & the Atmosphere Changers God Made It Beautiful Tyscot / JayClay Music (release date: April 16, 2021) www.tyscot.com By Robert M. Marovich It is a pleasant surprise to hear a gospel album open not with the usual jarring sonic blast but with the gentle notes of a piano supporting a sensitive soprano voice. Such is the introduction to Jason Clayborn and the Atmosphere Changers’ God Made it Beautiful. The soprano happens to be Najiya Clayborn, the daughter of Jason Clayborn, the GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and native of Kentucky perhaps best known for writing Hezekiah Walker’s “Better” and Ricky Dillard ...

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Derrick “Doc” Pearson – A Family Man

Derrick “Doc” Pearson A Family Man I AM Music Company (release date: May 7, 2021) www.iammusiccompany.com By Robert M. Marovich Bassist, arranger, and songwriter Derrick “Doc” Pearson has graced the e-pages of JGM in the past with inspirational smooth jazz projects such as 2018’s I Still Do: Songs for a Biblical Marriage, and initially with his 2015 release, No Greater Love. Pearson’s latest offering, A Family Man, follows in the footsteps of I Still Do in its thematic anchoring, its mix of bass-driven smooth jazz from a team of top-flight musicians representing the DMV area, and equally smooth vocals. This ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Need of You

Lawrence Hancock Need of You (pre-orders begin April 26, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Bishop Lawrence Hancock’s new Christian hip hop release, Need of You, emulates his summer 2020 album, Who I Am, more in musical vibe than in message. For his seventh album, Hancock focuses less on uncertainty and more on praise and gratitude. “God’s Been Good,” a praiser with a slowed-down Gap Band groove and punctuations of synare, is the single, but “First Love” is more compelling for its melody and lyrical longing to return to the initial rush of happiness that happens when one discovers Jesus. As ...

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David Wright – Let the Organ Play

David Wright Let the Organ Play Godfather Records (release date: February 12, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Typically, we hear Pastor David Wright leading the New York Fellowship Mass Choir. For Let the Organ Play, the choir takes a rest and Wright lights up the Hammond B3 to play an instrumental litany of church favorites. The album’s song selection includes COGIC favorites (a variation on the “Yes Lord” chant and the infrequently-recorded “This is the Church of God in Christ”), classic gospels and hymns, and contemporary pieces, such as “Oh Happy Day,” the New Jersey Mass Choir’s “Praise Him,” and ...

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Kelontae Gavin – The N.O.W. Experience

Kelontae Gavin The N.O.W. Experience RCA Inspiration / Marquis Boone Enterprises (release date: March 5, 2021) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Some gospel artists you meet outside of the church environment startle you when you witness their artistic presence in the spotlight. One is Jekalyn Carr—quiet and measured in informal conversation and a marvel of evangelistic motive force when ministering in music. Another is Kelontae Gavin. A Marquis Boone client, Gavin is a humble and amiable soul, a young man who conquered dark moments with healthy doses of sunny optimism and faith. But when he enters the spirit realm, Gavin ...

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CeCe Winans – Believe For It

CeCe Winans Believe For It Fair Trade (release date: March 12, 2021) www.cecewinans.com By Robert M. Marovich CeCe Winans’s Believe For It is the singer’s first non-holiday release in four years and her first live worship solo album. Listening to the album will lead one to consider the live recording environment as her sweet spot. Recorded in Nashville at Trinity Broadcasting Network, the album/worship service is delightfully long on melodic and heartwarming songs written and recorded by some of today’s top CCM and P&W stars and thankfully short on P&W filler. Although “Fire” is the type of aerobic P&W piece ...

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Katy Crawford – Dwell (EP)

Katy Crawford Dwell (EP) Devotion Music (release date: June 11, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Dallas-based singer-songwriter Katy Crawford was inspired to read from Psalms every day and set some of the verses to music. Her EP Dwell is the first, but hopefully not the last, of her musical explorations of the ancient lyrical poems. Crawford gives the EP’s six psalms a dash of folk, country, and Celtic lilt. Their memorable melodies are supported by a delicate acoustic ambience, one that never overpowers Crawford’s earnest vocals, which are reminiscent of Sandra McCracken and Lauren Daigle. Although the rhythmic and engaging ...

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