CDs

J. Bethel & Spoken For – All In

J. Bethel & Spoken For All In (independent release) www.jbs4.co By Bob Marovich All in, indeed. Frenetically rolling drums at the outset signify that the debut full-length release by Detroit gospel group J. Bethel & Spoken For is about to dazzle the listener with a proverbial kitchen sink’s worth of instrumentation and a high-energy range of musical influences, from jazz to rock to contemporary gospel and even some funk (after all, Jason “J” Bethel Sr.’s uncle worked with Parliament Funkadelic). The album leans heavy on the church truism that praise is the answer, especially during personal trials, as articulated on “I ...

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Nimisilla Park – Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP)

Nimisilla Park Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP) Coal Mine Entertainment (release date: October 7, 2016) http://nimisillapark.com By Bob Marovich Alton Hood and Michael Brown, best known as the founding members of pioneer Christian hip hop group and GRAMMY and Dove Award nominee D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ), return after a decade-long hiatus. But they are not returning as D.O.C. Making an emotional, if not entirely musical, break with the past, the duo is now known as Nimisilla Park. Welcome to Nimisilla Park is an apt title for the first eight-track EP to be released under the rebranding. The EP reflects the duo’s ...

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Anthony Faulkner – Guardian Angel

Anthony Faulkner Guardian Angel 7TH Chapter Music (2016) www.afaulkner.com By Bob Marovich It’s no surprise that Angela Winbush of 1980s R&B vocal duo Rene’ and Angela makes a vocal appearance on “Closer,” a song on Anthony Faulkner’s new album, Guardian Angel. Faulkner considers her his personal guardian angel. He told the Journal of Gospel Music how he met the popular singer at his church or, rather, how she met him: “[Angela] didn’t know me from any of the other kids, but she walked up to me at church one day and asked me, ‘Do you like music?’ She challenged me to go ...

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Brothers in Unity – Somewhere to Lay My Head

Brothers in Unity Somewhere to Lay My Head (independent release) By Bob Marovich Originally recorded in 2008 as their debut album and relaunched this year, the Brothers in Unity quartet’s Somewhere to Lay My Head is an album of traditional hymns as well as new songs composed in the traditional gospel quartet style. The album is lovingly dedicated to Sandra Abney, the spouse of the quartet’s founder and manager, Elder Larry Abney, and someone who, from the photo included in the album package, sadly passed away much too young. The title track, not a cover of the Sensational Nightingales/Highway QCs ...

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Bishop L. L. Pittman & the Sons of Christ (s/t EP)

Bishop L. L. Pittman & The Sons of Christ (self-titled EP, 2016) LEPITT Records By Bob Marovich Bishop Lenzo L. Pittman and the Sons of Christ are house hunting, but not on this planet. On “Mansion,” from the Stockton, California quartet’s self-titled four-track EP, the men are busy picking out their forever homes from the “many mansions” on high. “I don’t even know what color my room will be / Don’t even know what size it will be,” but it “belongs to me,” Bishop Pittman sings. The Sons of Christ—Bishop Pittman, Bishop David Cusic, Eddie Robertson, Johnnie Galloway, and Samuel ...

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Karlos Nichols – Live in Memphis: Hope! with The Covenant

Karlos Nichols Live in Memphis: Hope! With The Covenant The Kane Group (release date: August 16, 2016) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Live in Memphis: Hope! is the debut album by Karlos Nichols, a Memphian who received his music education in New York City and came home to impact his community as a preacher, educator, songwriter, singer, director, musician, and clinician. Covenant is a small mixed choir that ably supports Nichols on this album of mostly original songs (all but one was written or co-written by Nichols). One Covenant member in particular, Britne’ Brown-Lauderdale, is a classic squaller. Her work ...

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VaShawn Mitchell: Secret Place – Live in South Africa

VaShawn Mitchell Secret Place – Live in South Africa V Man Entertainment / Motown Gospel Release date: November 4, 2016 www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich While European and Scandinavian countries prefer American gospel artists to sing traditional fare when touring, South Africa appears to have wholly embraced the P&W offerings of artists such as Israel Houghton and also VaShawn Mitchell, whose February 2016 appearance in Johannesburg was released last month by Motown Gospel as Secret Place – Live in South Africa. From the sound of the applause, Mitchell’s praise team-ready songs, with their billowy arrangements, lilting melodies, and hypnotic rhythms, cast ...

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Summer – Love Letters

Summer Love Letters Rich Life Records (2016) www.summerofficialpage.com By Bob Marovich “I’m in love with Jesus / The greatest love I’ve known; For even when I’ve left you / You claimed me as your own.” Thus sings Summer Pearson, aka Summer, on “Key To My Heart,” one of eight selections on her debut solo release, Love Letters. True to its title, the album features worship songs disguised as love letters to the Lord. The letters vary from gushing and wide-eyed infatuation, as on the breezy and acoustic “The Real Thing” and “Love You Like Crazy,” to the more dramatic and ...

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Dee Dee Sharp – Songs of Faith (reissue)

Dee Dee Sharp Songs of Faith Cameo Records / ABKCO Music and Records (originally released in 1962; reissued October 21, 2016) www.abkco.com By Bob Marovich Just before the Beatles all but changed the face of popular music, Cameo/Parkway Records was finding new ways to keep kids dancing. From Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and the Orlons’ “The Wah Watusi” to the Dovells “Bristol Stomp” and Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time,” the Philadephia label was doing what Motown was about to do: recalibrate R&B music by African American artists for a multicultural audience. Cameo producers Kal Mann and Dave Appell knew ...

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The Rance Allen Group – Live from San Francisco

The Rance Allen Group Live from San Francisco Tyscot Records (release date: October 28, 2016) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “I’m loving me some of y’all,” gushed an obviously pleased Bishop Rance Allen to the audience gathered to hear the Rance Allen Group at the Second Annual Charles Reid Gospel Festival in Richmond, California, north of San Francisco. From the response of the audience, the love was mutual. The Bay Area program was recorded live by Tyscot Records and released as Live from San Francisco, the Rance Allen Group’s 25th album and third live project. They return for this live album ...

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