Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: July 13, 2020

“Someday” Shirley Murdock feat. Beverly Crawford, Kelly Price and Regina Belle From Live: The Journey (initial release date: 2011; re-released as single: 2020) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Back in 2011, when “Someday” was initially released as part of Shirley Murdock’s Tyscot album Live: The Journey, this is what I had to say: “Someday” features les quatre femmes – Murdock, Beverly Crawford, Kelly Price and Regina Belle – seeking world cooperation during these days of social ills. The four harmonizing on stage together provides enough energy to run a small town for one day, and suggests they take their gospel show ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Who I Am

Lawrence Hancock Who I Am Bishop Lawrence Hancock (release date: July 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Amid a kaleidoscope of electronic beats and mostly introspective melodies, Christian hip hop artist Bishop Lawrence Hancock tells you who He is, and who you should be—a Child of God. That’s what you discover on the hypnotic title cut of the Toledo, Ohio, native’s sixth album. Who I Am is atmospheric and vulnerable, not aggressive or extroverted. With electronic puffs like asthmatic organ pipes, “Ride,” the album’s first (and finest) selection, gives the message of “Walk Around Heaven All Day” a twenty-first-century face lift. Hancock ...

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“Cast Your Cares” – James Cutts

“Cast Your Cares” James Cutts (release date: July 10, 2020) By Bob Marovich Pastor James Cutts knows whereof he sings. Both he and his wife are on the road to recovery from COVID-19. This experience made Cutts’ new single, the bright and buoyant “Cast Your Cares,” all the more relevant. When you are struggling for breath, all you can do is turn it over to the Lord, the song goes, and “it will work out for your good.” Drawing his text from 1 Peter 5:7 (“Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you”), Cutts sings: “Don’t you ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 7, 2020

“Heal the Brokenness” Mietta Stancil Farrar & Tehillah From the CD The Greatness of God (original release date: 2013) By Bob Marovich Many gospel songs feel as if they were written about current times. Although Mietta Stancil Farrar & Tehillah of  Paterson, New Jersey, initially released “Heal the Brokenness” seven years ago, it falls in this category. This plea for the Lord to do what nobody else can do is made all the more urgent when Mietta and Tehillah increase the passion in their pleading by incrementally boosting the volume of their voices. Several artists have been re-purposing songs from ...

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“God is Good” – Ethan Kent

“God is Good” Ethan Kent Feat. Ryan Brockington, Arie & Eme & Tamerick Brazzell Tonic Blueprint LLC (release date: June 12, 2020) http://ethankentonline.com/ By Bob Marovich During times like these, Ethan Kent’s declaration that “Life ain’t always fair but God is good” is critical to keep close to the heart. This pop-infused song of encouragement receives able assistance from Dallas-based artists Ryan Brockington, Arie & Eme, and Tamerick Brazzell. Their voices swirl around Kent like a disembodied choir. While Kent is singing his own personal troubles over, the song is dedicated to everyone struggling with COVID-19, racial injustice, financial issues, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 29, 2020

“Another Chance” The McDuffies McDuffie’s Music Group (release date: March 13, 2020) By Bob Marovich The McDuffies’ single, “Another Chance,” is bittersweet. In this unhurried quartet ballad, lead vocalist Ricky McDuffie sings about the times that God “looked beyond his faults” to bestow upon him another chance, even when he “didn’t deserve it.” God woke him up, he adds, “when I could have been dead and gone, sleeping in a cold grave,” and even reversed some bad news he received from his doctor. All encouraging. But alas, when it’s your time, it’s your time. Since recording the song, the illness ...

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Myron Butler – My Tribute

Myron Butler My Tribute Fair Trade / Columbia / Red Alliance Media (release date: June 26, 2020) By Bob Marovich Together with several of today’s top-flight gospel artists, singer-songwriter Myron Butler pays homage to one of his chief inspirations, Andrae’ Crouch, with a feature-filled album called My Tribute. All but one of the selections are Crouch originals, but with modern augmentations to make them relevant to today’s audience. And in all but one case, Butler duets or trades leads with the guest vocalists. That one cut, “All Things Well,” is a praise ballad and the album’s debut single. It’s a Butler ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2020

“On and On” Darius Paulk feat. Janae Slack-Smith From the AIR / Malaco CD Strong (release date: February 20, 2020) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Although the uncomplicated worship ballad “On and On” has a decided pop flavor, the harmonica and pedal steel give it a contemporary country vibe. The single features fine singing from Darius Paulk and flights of lithe-to-muscular soprano from Janae Slack-Smith, all of it held together by the melodic background vocalists. Paulk is perhaps best known for penning “Nobody Greater,” the career-making single for VaShawn Mitchell. Listen closely, and you’ll hear that “On and On” has shades ...

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The Chosen Wonders – I Know a Man

The Chosen Wonders I Know a Man Independent (release date: October 15, 2019) By Bob Marovich The Chosen Wonders, a gospel quartet from Central California, refashions a few gospel chestnuts for their seven-selection mini-album, I Know a Man. For example, the title track is a contemporary harmony version of Brother Joe May’s 1950 hit, “Do You Know Him.” Likewise, “Main Line” is the old standard, “Jesus is on the Main Line,” also rendered in a steady-moving modern quartet vibe (I wonder how many remember when there was a “main line!”). Opening with classic quartet guitar flourishes before settling into a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 15, 2020

“Be Alright”Dexter Walker & Zion MovementIntersound (release date: May 29, 2020) By Bob Marovich It’s hard to believe, but on “Be Alright,” the award-winning Chicago gospel choir Dexter Walker & Zion Movement moved the needle on its effervescence-o-meter, already at fever pitch, further to the right. The song’s message is appropriate for all times, but especially for this time: keep the faith, trust in God, and everything will be all right. Lead vocalist Jazmine Jones shouts, squalls, and otherwise wrecks the church on this frenetic and relentless musical cousin of a praise break. The choir responds with full-throated section work ...

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