CDs

Fannie Lou Hamer – Songs My Mother Taught Me

Fannie Lou Hamer Songs My Mother Taught Me Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (release date: June 30, 2015) www.folkways.si.edu By Bob Marovich While it took a recent act of domestic terror for the polarizing Confederate flag to begin coming down throughout the South, let us not forget that much of the way was paved more than a half-century ago by such freedom fighters as Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, who died in 1977 at age 59, is renowned for her leadership in the Civil Rights movement and specifically for her work with the Mississippi Freedom Party. Equally well known, albeit a sidebar to ...

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The Gospel Angels – I Still Remember

The Gospel Angels I Still Remember Next Level Publishing (2004) www.thegospelangelsdc.com By Bob Marovich I Still Remember has been around for more than a decade—it was released the year the Journal of Gospel Music was born, in fact—but this album by the Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, is worth revisiting because it is emblematic of how much musical fun saving souls can be. First, of the eleven tracks, five are up-tempo selections, more hip-slapping than just about any gospel quartet CD I’ve heard in a long while. One might conclude that the high percentage of “drive tempo” songs is because ...

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J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

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Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...

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Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure – #GETITDONE

Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure #GETITDONE Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com Syndicated radio host, choir director, worship pastor, former model, Stellar Award winner, recording artist, CEO, educator, and now clothing line owner, Lonnie Hunter is gospel’s Renaissance Man. Despite his busy schedule with “The Lonnie Hunter Show” and as host of the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, Hunter and his choir, Structure, recently rolled out their fifth release, #GETITDONE. The album features P&W lyrics set to creamy choral arrangements, some of which evoke the rich church choir tradition of Hunter’s Chicago upbringing. Paying indirect tribute to Hunter’s prior work with Chicago’s Voices of St. ...

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Brad + Rebekah – All You’ve Done

Brad + Rebekah All You’ve Done Discovery House (release date: June 2, 2015) http://bradandrebekahmusic.com By Bob Marovich On their national debut album, All You’ve Done, Brad + Rebekah, a husband-and-wife praise team, loft their admiration and gratitude melodically, and vertically, to the Most High. The album opens, appropriately, with “Wake Up.” It is a Brad-led clarion call about resurrection day that uses power pop as a brisk slap, reminding listeners to be spiritually ready for the end of times at all times. The duo’s tuneful “When We Gather,” “Be Here Now,” and “Body of Christ” set the table for worship, ...

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Rev. J.C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy – Don’t You Forget to Remember

Rev. J. C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy Don’t You Forget to Remember Sharp Records (2015) www.sharprecordsusa.com www.reverbnation.com/revjcjenkinsthesoundsofjoy By Bob Marovich The Sounds of Joy, featuring the hard-singing lead vocals of Rev. J. C. Jenkins, is a nod to the deep southern soul quartet sound of the 1970s and 1980s. The major seventh Northern Soul harmonies combined with Jenkins’ pulpit-hued raspy lead vocals are most evident on “He’s Done It All for Me,” the opening track on the group’s Sharp Records album, Don’t You Forget to Remember. The song’s recounting of biblical miracles establishes the premise that if He did it ...

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Various Artists – Connected 2 Calvary, Vol. IV

Various Artists Connected 2 Calvary Vol. IV www.connected2calvary.com By Bob Marovich At a recent panel discussion co-hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Recording Academy, gospel artist Tye Tribbett joked that releasing music in today’s technological society means literally releasing it, setting it free to be streamed and downloaded for no charge.  Music can be gotten for free in so many ways, a recording has become nothing more than an aural business card to promote live performances. That is okay by Connected 2 Calvary. They recognize and understand the importance of samplers to showcase ...

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The Showers – (self titled)

The Showers The Showers A&P Records/Habakkuk Music/INgrooves (release date: April 21, 2015) www.theshowers.org By Bob Marovich The Showers is the national debut album for the Showers Family of Hammond, Louisiana, siblings who have been singing together since knee pants and recording since 2009. The octet pulled out all the stops, too, inking a distribution deal with Habakkuk Records and signing an all-star lineup of producers, notably Bruce Robinson, Deon Kipping, Myron Butler, and Dave Geeter. Robinson and Kipping also contributed many of the album’s songs, as did gospel singer Regina Skeeters. Butler assists with vocal production on the punchy “Praise ...

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Tracey McFadden – I Still Believe

Tracey McFadden I Still Believe www.traceymcfadden.org By Bob Marovich Chicagoan Tracey McFadden’s debut album, I Still Believe, was recorded live at her home church, Bread of Life Missionary Baptist Church. An intimate gathering of friends and congregants support their home girl as she moves through eight selections. The best thing McFadden did for the album was assemble a solid choir of background vocalists who support her thoroughly throughout. The musicians also offer powerful assistance without overpowering the vocals. While the album contains a mix of uptempo praisers and balladic works, the latter seem to be McFadden’s sweet spot. “There’s No ...

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