CDs

Various Artists – Halo: The One-Derful! Collection

Various Artists Halo: The One-Derful! Collection Secret Stash Records (release date of CD: April 15, 2016; LP available since February 2016) www.secretstashrecords.com By Bob Marovich During the 1950s and 1960s, Chicago record men and brothers George and Ernie Leaner helped transform South Michigan Avenue’s famed “Motor Row” (of auto dealerships) into Record Row. In addition to helping Ernie with their record distribution company on Boul Mich, George Leaner organized One-Derful! Records and several subsidiaries, including one exclusively designated for a gospel music series: Halo. With meticulous detail and in concert with the Leaner Family, Minnesota’s Secret Stash Records has been releasing samples ...

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R.E.V. – Beyond Armageddon

R.E.V. Beyond Armageddon (2016) www.revgospel.com By Bob Marovich R.E.V. and Beyond Armageddon are the brainchildren of Detroiter Dennis M. Schultz. A lead and bass guitarist who for years balanced his day job with his passion for music, Schultz has had the notion to do this album since the 1990s. Some of the songs were written twenty years ago. He finally assembled the musicians and singers to create this album. The instrumentals, such as “Seasons Past (Deep Reflection),” “Eternal Voyager,” and the title track, are straightforward inspirational jazz pieces with Mike Joseph (alto sax), Michael Elder (tenor sax) and Darren McKinney (soprano sax) ...

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The Volunteer State Mass Choir – The Gospel of Tennessee

Jeff Wilford Presents The Volunteer State Mass Choir The Gospel of Tennessee www.VolunteerStateMass.com By Bob Marovich Ten years after their establishment by gospel music industry and retail professional Jeff Wilford, the Volunteer State Mass Choir makes its debut on CD with The Gospel of Tennessee. Waiting to gel in tone and texture before releasing a full-length recording has paid off for the Volunteer State Mass Choir. The Gospel of Tennessee showcases a group that has its swagger together, whether on P&W pieces such as “Fresh Oil” or on aisle stompers such as “I Forgot Just Who I Am,” featuring feisty ...

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Ysabella – Help Me Out

Ysabella Help Me Out Sharper Brothers (2016) Available on Amazon By Bob Marovich Ysabella, formerly known as the Jenkins Sisters, is a contemporary gospel sister trio. Jentry, Aja, and Armani Jenkins have been singing for some time: in 2008, the group won the Word Network’s Gospel F.O.C.U.S. competition. Help Me Out is their latest recorded offering. There’s no doubt that the ladies can sing. Their crisp and youthful harmonies, no doubt honed over years of sisterly closeness, evoke a Destiny’s Child vibe, and the title track features a churchy lead vocal over the bluesy vamp. Take away the extroverted electronica ...

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Renaissance Movement Music – Lions in Suits

Renaissance Movement Music Lions in Suits (release date: February 26, 2016) Available digitally By Bob Marovich On the fifteen-selection Lions in Suits, Christian hip hop collective Renaissance Movement Music (RMM) joins forces with a handful of special guests to deliver a parcel of messages.  The messages are mostly about the life-giving and life-saving power of faith in God, but they also contain pointed commentary on society’s propensity to stereotype, typecast, put people in boxes, and throw shade on anything and anybody different. RMM is comprised of Sinai, Mike Bell, and Legin. The album title appears to refer to the group’s ...

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Christon Gray – The Glory Album

Christon Gray The Glory Album Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA (release date: March 11, 2016) By Bob Marovich Christian hip hop artist Christon Gray announces that he’s “spittin’ the real, not the auto tune” on The Glory Album, the major label follow-up to his solo independent release and Billboard-charting School of Roses.  He’s right, and he has a lot of real to spit. As Gray shared with JGM, The Glory Album takes up where Roses left off. The sequel finds Gray trying to make sense of the often incomprehensible strands of life with which everybody grapples, such as family, love, relationships, spirituality, the responsibility ...

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Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees – Jesus Is All I Need (Live)

Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees Jesus Is All I Need Sharp Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Zion Jubilees remain the flagship artist for Sharp Records. The quartet’s new CD, Jesus Is All I Need, recorded live in the group’s hometown of Bryan, Texas, proves there is still power in the traditional gospel quartet sound. Since its founding as the Reed Brothers in the late 1950s, the Zion Jubilees has dished out wooden church wisdom steeped in sweet harmonies and hard gospel lead singing. Making records for Stan Lewis’s Shreveport-based Jewel Records in the 1970s, the group ...

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Carl B. Phillips & Friends – Great Rain

Carl B. Phillips & Friends Great Rain Prove Me Productions (release date: January 29, 2016) https://www.reverbnation.com/carlbphillips By Bob Marovich The photo on the back of the CD booklet for Carl B. Phillips & Friends’ Great Rain shows an Ivy League-attired Phillips standing next to a clock, a briefcase and umbrella in his hands. If, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo is saying that Phillips is prepared, but waiting patiently, for his bountiful shower of blessings. Waiting with expectation for a movement from God in one’s life is a current that runs throughout this live project ...

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WDF – What the World Needs Now

WDF What the World Needs Now Studio Cloud 30 (release date: November 10, 2015) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich I rarely award an EP or mini-album five stars because that puts extraordinary pressure on the full-length CD that inevitably follows to be as good, if not better, than the more diminutive project.  It’s akin to giving a new artist a lifetime achievement award.  Where do you go from there? But in the case of WDF’s What the World Needs Now, however, I am making an exception. Canadian gospel artist Warren Dean Flandez, known as WDF, has created a mini album that deservedly ...

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For the Lord – Greater

For the Lord Greater (private press 2015) By Bob Marovich For the Lord may be an unorthodox name for a gospel quartet, but the group has been around for some time and their new album, Greater, demonstrates that the gentlemen are 100 percent gospel quartet with a traditional bent. The quartet appears to favor brisk tempo sing- and clap-along songs, as the album has several, starting with the opening cut, “He’s Alright” and “Blessing On the Way.” “Grip on God” and “Solution is Jesus” also have that rocking rhythm that is quintessentially quartet. Johnavan “Bo Peep” Sauls, the credited songwriter, works ...

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