CDs

Yancy – Pequena Fiesta de Alabanza

Yancy y Amigos Pequena Fiesta de Alabanza (Praise Party) Elevate Entertainment (2014) www.yancynotnancy.com By Bob Marovich Christian singer-songwriter Yancy began writing kid-friendly songs for the littlest congregants at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her “Little Praise Party” series of compact disc and DVD song collections caught on so well that she has, with able assistance from Christian music stars Jaci Velasquez and Nic Gonzales (two of the “amigos”), translated some of them into Spanish. Thus was born Pequena Fiesta de Alabanza. This Spanish-language collection will certainly satisfy its intended demographic. It contains fifteen short, punchy songs bursting with ...

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When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936

Various Artists When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936 Tompkins Square (released December 9, 2014) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Tompkins Square continues its stretch of quality black sacred music reissues with the three-CD When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936. Using 1926 as a starting point is not a random decision. That year saw the release of debut recordings by two seminal artists: Church of God in Christ powerhouse Arizona Dranes (who has already received a handsome Tompkins Square retrospective) and Baptist minister Rev. J. M. Gates of Atlanta, who became a bestselling recording ...

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Fred Hammond – I Will Trust

Fred Hammond I Will Trust RCA Inspiration (release date: November 17, 2014) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich One thing’s for sure: listen to Fred Hammond and you can’t help but have a good time praising the Lord. His latest album, I Will Trust, is packed to the CD’s brim with bracing musicianship, creative melodies and arrangements, rich singing, and demonstrative lyrics. The opening selection, “Festival of Praise,” could easily have been an alternate title for the CD, as the entire album is a musical festival, a cornucopia of praise and worship, Fred Hammond style. Hammond shifts effortlessly from an appropriately Brazilian ...

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Various Artists – Motown Christmas

Various Artists Motown Christmas Motown Gospel (2014) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Motown Christmas is the best yuletide album I have listened to in years.  Gifted executive producer Aaron W. Lindsey (who also plays, writes, and sings on the album) seamlessly blends the old and the new with the sacred and secular to create an overall vibe that feels cozy and familiar. First off, the duet couplings are inspired. For example, Kierra Sheard (gospel) and Chrisette Michele (pop) give “Angels We Have Heard On High” a beautifully traditional reading while injecting just enough of their own vocal personalities to make it ...

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The Williams Brothers – Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance

The Williams Brothers Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance Blackberry Records (2014) www.blackberryrecords.com By Bob Marovich With more than 50 years of harmonizing under their belt, the Williams Brothers are an institution in the quartet community. The group’s longstanding willingness and ability to adapt to the latest in sacred and secular sounds is exemplified in its latest album, Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance. Here, the Williams Brothers attach their meaty quartet harmonies to the meditative Praise & Worship style currently sweeping the gospel music and church communities. Listeners expecting to hear hip-slapping, drive-tempo traditional quartet singing on Songs of ...

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Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers and Others: Get In Union

Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers and Others Get In Union: Recordings by Alan Lomax 1959-1966 Tompkins Square (released, October 28, 2014) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Students of ethnomusicology and folk music enthusiasts fortunate enough to hear the two or three LPs of Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers can tell you the thrill of hearing the group’s music for the first time. The singers’ dedication to preserving a music with roots that run all the way back to West Africa has enabled generations to hear something of the foundation of spirituals, the blues, jazz, gospel, and ...

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KSE Sunshine Band – Children in Perfected Praise: Live From Kansas City

KSE Sunshine Band Children in Perfected Praise: Live from Kansas City (2013) Available from digital music retailers By Bob Marovich Early in Church of God in Christ history, founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason tasked the denomination’s Women’s Division to establish sunshine bands, or choral groups, to provide COGIC children with a musical outlet steeped in religion. For the past century or so, tens of thousands of saints—from everyday people to sacred and secular music superstars—have come up through a sunshine band. The forty-member Kansas East Jurisdictional Sunshine Band Recording Choir, under the direction of Sis. Jean Henderson, is one of these ensembles. In addition ...

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Kim Dexter – Reaching

Kim Dexter Reaching (released June 2014) www.kimdexter.com By Bob Marovich Completed thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Reaching is the sophomore effort of singer-songwriter Kim Dexter, the Phoenix-born former lead singer of the Christian rock band, Mayfair Laundry. Reaching is a melodically lovely, atmospheric set of praise songs that pulls from a musical palette of rock, pop, new age, folk, and CCM. Dexter intended the album to be a worship project, and she has succeeded. The praise is vertically directed and gushes from an overflowing soul. When on the airy “Freedom, ” she sings,  “This is my living in the happy ...

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Pastor Riva Tims Presents Majestic Praise – Access Granted

Pastor Riva Tims Presents Majestic Praise Access Granted Zion Records (2014) www.majesticlifechurch.com By Bob Marovich Florida Pastor Riva Tims introduces to the general public the music ministry at her Majestic Praise Church in Orlando on the ten-selection Access Granted. It is the first CD on her new Zion Records imprint. In the album’s dramatic introduction, Tims explains the title: “When you are on purpose and on assignment, God says ‘access granted.’” The ensemble employs that access to loft vertical praises to God on high. The songs and arrangements on Access Granted are CCM-tempered praise and worship, something on the order of Shekinah Glory Ministry. ...

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Lecrae – Anomaly

Lecrae Anomaly Reach Records (2014) www.reachrecords.com By Bob Marovich Lecrae’s new CD, Anomaly, is Christian music’s most incisively honest, but at the same time most bravely hopeful, project this year. To Lecrae, being an anomaly, being an outsider, is both an advantage and disadvantage. On one hand, anomalies are outcasts who don’t fit in. At the same time, as Lecrae articulates on the title track, being an outsider is “exactly what God created us to be.” “Why you scared to be different?” he asks on “Say I Won’t.”  Anomalies call it like it is, and Lecrae does just that on ...

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