CDs

Carolyn Traylor – The Best of My Story

Carolyn Traylor The Best of My Story Traylor Made Music Group (release date: March 31, 2017) By Bob Marovich Working in the traditional-or-die mode of such artists as Dottie Peoples, Beverly Crawford, and Lemmie Battles, Carolyn Traylor of Greenville, Texas, flexes her vocal muscles on her latest album, the thoroughly enjoyable The Best of My Story. Recorded live at Shreveport’s Peaceful Rest Baptist Church, the album finds Traylor, called the “Texas Powerhouse” in Derrell Hobdy’s introduction, varying from sweet to squall on eleven selections of mostly churchy fare. I say mostly, because “Victory” and “He Did It All” have a ...

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Out of the Dust – (self titled)

Out of the Dust (s/t) Discovery House Music (release date: March 7, 2017) www.outofthedustmusic.com By Bob Marovich Some of the best songs are birthed out of suffering. For Out of the Dust’s Chris and Stephanie Teague, the circumstances of their separation, divorce, and remarriage, and their reliance on Jesus for healing, provided the raw material for the eleven songs on their self-titled debut LP. Despite the pain behind the Teague’s story, the album’s music buzzes with the gratitude of having made it through.  It offers pleasant pop melodies, bright production, and duet singing that evokes the informality of coffee house ...

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Judy Jacques – The Sixties Sessions

Judy Jacques The Sixties Sessions Playback (2016) www.playbackrecords.net By Bob Marovich In the early 1960s, while teens were swooning over the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Judy Jacques, an Australian youth, was soaking up whatever American gospel records she could get her hands on. At the same time, Australia’s Yarra Yarra New Orleans Jazz Band was introducing Melbourne audiences to traditional American Dixieland style jazz. Combined, Jacques and the Yarras gave Australians a bracing and remarkably authentic taste of black gospel and spirituals. In the process, Jacques became Australia’s Queen of Gospel and Trad Jazz. A comprehensive survey of Jacques’s 1960’s ...

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n•i•a•s•h•a – Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5

n•i•a•s•h•a Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5 Loveworld Life (released in August 2016) hulkshare.com/niashaMawerez By Bob Marovich If you need confirmation that gospel music is an international phenomenon, n•i•a•s•h•a’s Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5 is proof that praising God in song is global. Snippets of music from U.S. artists such as Tasha Cobbs, James Fortune, Zacardi Cortez, and California’s Jesus Culture can be heard alongside songs by a handful of artists you’ve probably never heard of, but should. By and large, the other artists represent Nigeria and South Africa, and while they sing in English, they frequently incorporate other languages into the lyrics. ...

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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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Beverly Crawford – The Essential Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford The Essential Beverly Crawford JDI Records (release date: October 23, 2015) Available at Amazon.com By Bob Marovich The Essential Beverly Crawford is a best-of pulled from her two volume Live from Los Angeles series, released in 2008 and 2010, respectively, with a new song, “Deliverance,” tacked on top. Like Pastor Shirley Caesar, Crawford knows how to work a congregation, interspersing conversational spoken word in the midst of songs or evangelizing before and during her performances. You hear the singer swoop, squall, whoop, scream, and shout with preacher’s breath. She preaches and teaches. She does the holy dance. But she also offers ...

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Monae Miller – #ForeverAlive (EP)

Monae Miller #ForeverAlive (EP) Monae Miller Music www.monaemillermusic.com By Bob Marovich The writer Anton Chekhov admonished his fellow writers: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” This quote hung in the air while I was reviewing Kansas-born and Texas-based singer-songwriter Monae Miller’s #ForeverAlive EP. The photo on the front and back covers, as well as photos within the CD booklet, show her holding a guitar. So I anticipated that ...

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