CDs

TBGB Pick of the Week: June 2, 2014

“Turning Away” Bryan Andrew Wilson EchoPark JDI (2014) www.echoparkjdi.com Maybe it’s me, but less can be more, especially in gospel music.  Gospel started with only piano for accompaniment.  Nine decades later, piano and voice (and organ, of course) are still the ideal combination for a Zion song. Proof is Bryan Andrew Wilson’s introspective piano-accompanied single, “Turning Away.”  It is a personal declaration to forsake the “things that had me bound” and “the hurt and the shame” and move toward a better life.  The deft production has Wilson trading leads with himself and harmonizing with himself.  By not drowning the singer ...

Read More »

Eloho – Arise

Eloho Arise (Released March 15, 2014) http://elohoefemuai.co.uk/ By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog From Nigeria and now living in Scotland, Eloho Jocelyn Efemuai, known simply as Eloho (it means “prosperity”), is a singer, worship pastor, and presently part of the worship team at The Junction Church in Aberdeen. Her debut solo album Arise blends CCM melodies with Afropop rhythms. The high point is its title track and single, a song that encapsulates the album’s thematic and musical expressions. “You Are (My God),” a well-executed duet with Nigerian singer-producer Akinwunmi Nathan Oluniyi Akiremi, aka FLO, is a close second ...

Read More »

Reel Brothers – The Reel Experience

Reel Brothers The Reel Experience Shekinah Praise Music Publishing (2011) http://www.reverbnation.com/reelbrothers By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog On some quartet projects today, the singers and musicians seem as if they are in a tug-of-war over who should be most prominently featured.  On The Reel Experience, the Reel Brothers gospel quartet and their musicians sound like best friends, inseparable and complementary.   Reading the liner notes, one discovers why: the singers and musicians are one and the same. The Reel Brothers come from West Memphis, Arkansas, and are Min. Antwan Stinnett, Min, Devin Brown, Jeromy Thomas, Nick Merritt, Ricky Reel, ...

Read More »

Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers)

Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers) Tyscot Records (released April 22, 2014) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Deitrick Haddon and Tyscot Records want to bring the choir back.  To make manifest their pledge, they’ve released Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers).  The album not only celebrates the youthful verve of the gospel choir but features the talent of some of today’s most acclaimed directors. The League of Xtraordinary Worshippers sounds like a team of superheroes—indeed, those who purchase a hard copy of the DVD get an LXW comic book—but it’s a choir led by ...

Read More »

The Williams Singers – Destined

The Williams Singers Destined Deznell Music Group (rel. April 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Not to be confused with the Williams Brothers of Mississippi, the Williams Singersis a quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana, the city that brought you, among other artists, Brown’s Inspirational Singers, Robert Turner and the Silver Hearts, and Al “the Bishop” Hobbs. Darnell, Dezrale, and Dezmien are the Indiana Williamses, and their new album, Destined, is one of the best gospel quartet albums I’ve heard this year.  You’ve got to love a group that name checks the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the ...

Read More »

DJ Caleb – Got Gospel? Vol. 2

DJ Caleb Got Gospel? Vol. 2 Email: djcaleb@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog DJ Caleb is a gospel DJ, which means he spins gospel music for special events, not on the radio.  He releases mixtapes to promote his turntable talent.  Got Gospel? Vol. 2 is an excellent example of his sampling skills and mix magic. The set opens with a selection of joyfully brisk songs from indie and major gospel artists—Mary Mary and Lecrae to Onitsha and Leah Smith—nearly all of whom have been reviewed and/or interviewed for The Black Gospel Blog at one time or another.  ...

Read More »

Roscoe Robinson & the Birmingham BlindBoys – God’s Love Lifted Me Higher

Roscoe Robinson & the Birmingham BlindBoys God’s Love Lifted Me Higher Mississippi Delta Blues (2014) www.mississippideltabluesinfo.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Gospel quartet singers are the Energizer Bunnies of music.  Decade after decade, through innumerable personnel changes and stylistic revolutions, they keep on going. Such is the story of veteran gospel quartet lead Roscoe Robinson.  Although sighted, the 85-year-old Robinson has sung with just about every blind quartet in existence.  He recently organized the Birmingham BlindBoys, named for his Alabama hometown. In April, the Birmingham BlindBoys—Paul Montgomery, Rev. Julius Love, James Perkins, and Robinson—released their debut album ...

Read More »

Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers – The Evolution Continues

Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers The Evolution Continues One Voice Media (released March 18, 2014) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Lisa Knowles of Memphis, Tennessee, is one to watch in 2014. Not only does she sing electrifying solos as a member of James Fortune & FIYA, and has guested on many gospel CDs over the past several years, but she demonstrates her devotion to gospel quartet as the leader of Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers.  The ladies’ latest album, The Evolution Continues, combines contemporary gospel flair with Deep South quartet soulfulness. In ...

Read More »

Jai Reed – Songs From My Heart

Jai Reed Songs From My Heart K. Lamp Entertainment, LLC (2014) klampentertainment@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although he is a New Orleans guy, Pastor Jai Reed must still consider it a treat to sing in the Gospel Tent at the Crescent City’s legendary Jazz and Heritage Festival.  This year, he was on the program during the festival’s first weekend, and no doubt performed selections from his new CD, Songs From My Heart. Two components that emerge from the album are Reed’s clear, melodic tenor; and quality songs from the pen of producer/musician/songwriter Kevin Lampton.  First the ...

Read More »

The Mckee Choir – What Shall It Take

The Mckee Choir What Shall It Take Sharp Records (2014) http://themckeechoir.bandcamp.com/album/what-shall-it-take By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Named for Rev. James E. Mckee, the Mckee Choir was organized several years ago by Ulannie “Link” Brewer.  The choir’s album, What Shall It Take, was recorded at its home church of Dunham Temple CME in Greenwood, South Carolina, where Rev. Mckee is pastor. The album is reminiscent of the self-produced church choir recordings that proliferated in the 1970s and 1980s.  The 36-member Mckee Choir is a decent group with an above average, albeit uncredited, female lead vocalist whose intense vocal ...

Read More »