Reviews

Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God – Dream Come Alive

Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God Dream Come Alive Cohen Records Available at digital music outlets By Bob Marovich “Born Again,” the drive-tempo opening selection on Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God’s Dream Come Alive, signals that the album is a traditional-leaning project. And it is, though the quartet smooths some of the rough edges to make the music relevant for contemporary audiences. Elder Cohen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Greer, South Carolina, and owner/manager of gospel music radio station WPJM 800 AM, formed the Men of God in 2012. In addition to “Born Again,” Dream Come Alive includes a slow-burner ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 5, 2018

“Waiting on Jesus” True Believers 4 Winds Records (release date: October 23, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich On “Waiting on Jesus,” Castro Coleman and the True Believers exude gobs of enthusiasm about the coming of the Lord. Using the tried-and-true call-and-response format, the group sings about fasting and praying until the great day comes. The song moves with that slow-strutting tempo and the crashing drum backbeat characteristic of deep southern soul gospel quartet singing. The lyrics and music are ready-made for extroverted physical movement by audience and quartet alike. Coleman is no stranger to gospel music. He traces his roots back ...

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“So Good” – Not Easily Broken (NEBS)

“So Good” Not Easily Broken (NEBS) https://www.facebook.com/NEBSisters/ By Bob Marovich The Not Easily Broken Sisters (NEBS) is a cross between a female quartet and a gospel group. On “So Good,” from their self-titled EP, the sisters are effusive about God’s goodness to them. God removed their chains, gave them grace, eliminated cloudy days, and put a smile on their face. Even when they lost their faith, God directed them to get on their knees and proceeded to provide his amazing grace. By the vamp, the four offer a litany of other ways God has demonstrated his goodness: as a doctor, lawyer, ...

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“Thirst 4 U” – Richard Davis

“Thirst 4 U” Richard Davis R2D Music / 9585 Records (release date: April 28, 2017) www.r2dmusic.com By Bob Marovich Water has been, and continues to be, a popular metaphor in spirituals and gospel music. From the Jordan River to the baptismal pool to a manifestation in rain, water represents rebirth and renewal. So it is with Richard Davis’s “Thirst 4 U,” where rain showers down an overflow of blessings. The song is enhanced by an energetic arrangement punctuated by flourishes of brass and smooth jazz overtones. The radio edit leaves out a good portion of the intro section, though for my money, I’d add ...

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The New Christianaires – My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues

The New Christianaires My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues Carter Classic Creations (release date: July 31, 2018) www.thenewchristianaires.com By Bob Marovich I give ample credit to any group that starts their CD with an old hymn and sings it almost a cappella, as the New Christianaires do on My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues. In free time (i.e., no tempo) and with only an improvisatory electric guitar for support, the quartet harmonizes sweetly on “I Need Thee Every Hour.” After that auspicious opening, the New Christianaires put a contemporary spin on both traditional songs and newly-composed numbers ...

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Fred Williams – Do a New Thing

Fred Williams Do a New Thing (independent; release date: March 17, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/fredwilliams32 By Bob Marovich Living the holy life appears to be the overriding theme of Fred Williams’ independently-produced Do a New Thing. On the title track, the Aiken, South Carolina, singer-songwriter and music minister references Isaiah 43:18-21 in showing gratitude for God’s plentiful blessings, as well as reminding us of our responsibility to do the right thing: pay the blessings forward. During “On this Journey,” he asks God to show him the way to holiness, a state of existence he examines in detail earlier in the CD on “A Holy Life.” Other songs, such ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 22, 2018

“Blue” Juliana Schnee (release date: October 5, 2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich With her soaring tones accented by endearing yodels, twenty-two-year-old singer Juliana Schnee sounds like a young LeAnn Rimes. Her inspirational song “Blue” is made all the more effective by the understated small jazz combo and strings that accompany her winsome urging to not let life get you down.  “Blue” blends jazz and inspirational lyrics in a way that dignifies both. A self-described lover of “Jesus and Jazz,” Schnee is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As a child, she taught herself to play piano and ukulele and wrote ...

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“It Is Possible” – Jeanetta Williams

“It Is Possible” Jeanetta Williams (independent release 2014) For information: mdwil48@gmail.com By Bob Marovich If you are a gospel choir enthusiast, you know Jeanetta “Songbird” Williams from her solo turns as a member of the Thompson Community Singers. A few years ago, Williams gathered together friends and family to be her background singers on “It Is Possible,” a recording of her own composition. The singer offers a raw and genuine treatment to this simple, inspirational contemporary gospel song with references to Philippians 4:13. The melodic hook in the title verse hearkens back to the Hawkins style. A radio edit comprised of the best parts ...

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“Deepest Part of You” – Doe Jones

“Deepest Part of You” Doe Jones (digital release: October 23, 2018) By Bob Marovich Most of the gospel music world knows Doe (Dominique) Jones from her work with Forever Jones, and particularly her lead on the family band’s breakout hit, “He Wants It All” (though Doe’s “Most of All,” from Forever Jones’s second album, is my personal favorite). But there’s much more to this woman than a years-old hit single. If the devil had his way, she’d be writing pop melodies in LA and making millions, but she is one of the most committed, true-blue worship artists you are likely to find. ...

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Shanrae Cheree Price – Long Time Coming

Shanrae Cheree Price Long Time Coming DuRee Music Ministries, Inc. (release date: January 18, 2018) By Bob Marovich Given that Long Time Coming opens with Shanrae Cheree Price delivering the Reverend Paul Jones’ classic “I Won’t Complain” to a warbling B3 like a seasoned church singer, it’s not surprising that the listener would expect more of the same. But then the song shifts into a contemporary gear and you realize that Price has old school and new school vocal personalities. Also not surprising: Shanrae’s sister is none other than Kelly Price, the Grammy-nominated and Soul Train Award-winning R&B singer whose fourth album ...

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