CDs

Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams

Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams Marion Williams Spirit Feel/Shanachie www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich If you thought you’d heard everything Marion Williams recorded, alone or with the Ward Singers or Stars of Faith, think again. In addition to the thirteen hand-picked solo tracks by Williams’s longtime friend and producer, Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound, The Fan Who Knew Too Much), Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams features thirteen previously unreleased tracks. One of the unreleased gems showcases Williams with the Ward Singers at the 1957 Newport Folk Festival.  The cuts span the years 1957 to 1993.  Heilbut’s extensive ...

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Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise – The Great I Am

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise The Great I Am JDI Records NOTE: Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise’s self-released 2014 CD Redemption has been picked up by JDI Records and reissued as The Great I Am (same songs, somewhat different track order), JGM has reprinted/revised its review of the CD, published originally on August 23, 2014. By Bob Marovich Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise pulls out all the stops on The Great I Am. Douglass, a twenty-five-year-old Californian, organized Spirit of Praise a few years ago. The group released a single, “It Belongs to You,” in April 2012 and ...

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Golden Crowns of Louisville, KY – Come Too Far

The Golden Crowns of Louisville, KY Come Too Far Sharp Records (2015) www.reverbnation.com/thegoldencrowns By Bob Marovich Don’t let the flagrant typo on the cover and CD scare you away. This is a case when the book should not be judged by its cover. As they demonstrate on their new Sharp Records CD, Come Too Far, The Golden Crowns of Louisville, Kentucky, are as good as any of the popular recording quartets on the road today. Their harmonies are tight, the lead singing crackles with emotion, the band is strong, though the use of synth in this and any gospel quartet, ...

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Travis Greene – The Hill

Travis Greene The Hill RCA Inspiration (release date: October 30, 2015) www.travisgreene.tv By Bob Marovich At age four, Travis Greene fell out of an apartment window in Germany and was pronounced dead. His praying mother believed otherwise. She picked up her limp toddler, called repetitively on Jesus, and little Travis opened his eyes. Greene relates this and other inspirational true stories on the title track of his major label debut album, The Hill, recorded live with a battalion of musicians and singers at Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. With such a remarkable backstory, it’s not surprising that Greene’s performance ...

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Tiff Joy – Tiff Joy

Tiff Joy (self titled) Walkway Music Group/VMan Entertainment/Tyscot Records (release date: September 25, 2015) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Perhaps I’m just a softie for slow, poignant gospel songs, or it’s that Chicago’s Tiff Joy (Tiffany Joy McGhee), on her self-titled debut album, is at her very best when she sings such selections. Or both. I’m thinking both. At several points on Tiff Joy’s live album, the singer breaks from the tried-and-true high energy praise team warm-ups that pepper so many P&W albums these days to deliver heartfelt messages with heartrending music. On “The Promise,” for instance, Tiff reminds the listeners ...

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Janice Gaines – Greatest Life Ever

Janice Gaines Greatest Life Ever Motown Gospel (release date: October 9, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich While listening to Janice Gaines sing “The Break-Up Song,” on her debut album, Greatest Life Ever, it struck me that she could have been a fourth member of Destiny’s Child.  She can ride a rhythm as effortlessly as Bey and them. At the same time, Gaines has a worship leader’s heart of joyful exuberance, meaning she could deliver a DC stinger, if warranted, but she would follow it up not with a snarky glance but with a smile and a wink. All this is to ...

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Deitrick Haddon – Masterpiece

Deitrick Haddon Masterpiece eOne/DH Visions/Releve’ Entertainment (release date: November 6, 2015) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich We are blank canvasses that God, the ultimate artist, fashions into beautiful works of art, declares Deitrick Haddon on the title track of his new album, Masterpiece, released yesterday. But it’s the blank canvas or, more accurately, the damaged canvas, not the finished painting, which captures Haddon’s interest. Observing from the rarefied air of a man “who ain’t got nothing to prove or lose,” he warns humanity to clean its canvas by getting right with itself and with God. Why? Because this is his story, too, ...

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Derrick “Doc” Pearson – No Greater Love (CD/DVD)

Derrick “Doc” Pearson No Greater Love IAM Music (2015) By Bob Marovich No Greater Love, a CD/DVD retrospective of the IAM Music Company of Clinton, Maryland, is a celebration of the company’s ten years of existence and a greatest hits package for IAM Music’s co-founder, Derrick “Doc” Pearson, who participates in one way or another on all of the Scripture-based music selections. A versatile bass player, singer, songwriter, and producer, Pearson (“Doc” stands for Disciple of Christ), cut his musical teeth on 1970s and 1980s soft soul and funk while working with the likes of the O’Jays and Whispers. The songs ...

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Bridgett Kern – No One Greater

Bridgett Kern No One Greater Dream Label Group (release date: August 7, 2015) www.bridgettkern.com By Bob Marovich Although not advertised explicitly as such, Bridgett Kern’s new Praise & Worship project, No One Greater, is a live recording. That’s a good thing, as P&W comes off best live. After all, the style was created to enliven the live worship experience. I would argue that almost all gospel music sounds better live, but that’s a discussion for another time. Back to No One Greater. The first portion of Kern’s CD features the energetic and effusive P&W singing and hard-hitting musicianship heard in ...

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Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. – We Will Worship, Volume 1

Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. We Will Worship – Volume One Lions Roar Productions (2011) By Bob Marovich It makes sense that Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr.’s first live Praise & Worship CD was recorded at Love Center Ministries in Oakland, California, on July 11, 2011, exactly one year to the day after the passing of Bishop Walter Hawkins. The album, We Will Worship – Volume One, has more in common with the Hawkins Family’s choral outings than with today’s definition of Praise & Worship music. In fact, the album features so many delightfully traditional gospel elements that ...

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