Reviews

Hi-Lite Juniors – A New Beginning

Hi-Lite Juniors A New Beginning Dynasty Productions 2015 https://www.facebook.com/Hilitejuniors/ By Bob Marovich Back in the day, “Junior” quartets were the next generation of singers to come up under the tutelage of a more senior group. Thus, the Seven Star Juniors were the younger proteges of the Seven Stars quartet, and so on. So it is with the Hi-Lite Juniors of Paterson, New Jersey. The quartet was formed in the early 1970s by Milbert “Doc” McKenzie, uncle of the Juniors’ lead singer, Eric McKenzie. Working within the contemporary-traditional blend of Doc’s Gospel Hi-Lites, the Hi-Lite Juniors—now grown men—offer ten selections on ...

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URIM7 – The Assignment

URIM 7 The Assignment JOSJOI Productions (2015) https://www.reverbnation.com/urim7band By Bob Marovich Not all Jamaican music is reggae, dancehall, rock steady, or any of the other popular sounds associated with the country. In fact, with rare exception, as Mike McGonigal pointed out in his notes to the reissue collection, Noah Found Grace, Jamaican gospel music was inspired by white southern gospel singing heard after hours on U.S. AM radio. Although a connection to the contemporary gospel music scene has added more soulfulness to the Jamaican sacred sound over the years, gospel from that country still has more in common with the softer ...

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Pilgrim Travelers: Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957

Pilgrim Travelers Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957 Gospel Friend (release date: December 18, 2015) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Per Notini of Gospel Friend has developed a handsome catalog of well-produced collections of classic gospel music that covers quartet, choir, and piano-led groups alike. His latest production, Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-57, spotlights one of the top hit makers during gospel’s golden age: the Pilgrim Travelers. What is most striking about this 27-selection retrospective is how it aurally captures the California quartet as it altered its sound to keep up with the musical times, but without diluting one ounce of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 7, 2015

“Nada me Faltara’” Denyse Bittencourt From the CD Um Minuto Mais www.denysebittencourt.com.br “Nada me Faltara’,” from Brazilian songstress and songwriter Denyse Bittencourt’s Um Minuto Mais, envelops the listener in an easy warmth of mood and tone. Bittencourt’s crystal clear soprano is tinged with just enough passion to bring the song to an intense apex. The title translates from Portugese to English as “I Shall Not Want,” from the first line of Psalm 23 (“The Lord Is My Shepherd”).  But as with any good song, well rendered, you don’t necessarily need to know what the words mean to get the message. Denyse Bittencourt ...

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“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child – The Walls Group

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child” The Walls Group From the EP Sounds of Christmas With “Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child,” The Walls Group puts a contemporary lacquer on Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers’ Christmas classic, “Glory, Glory to the New Born King.” Once the most popular Christmas song in the African American community, it was overtaken by Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Still, as The Walls Group demonstrates, you can bring an old carol back to life by lifting the tempo and tossing leads back and forth like the Harlem Globetrotters pass the ball around.  They sing ...

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Only A Look – Ronald L. Greer (book)

Only A Look Ronald L. Greer Westbow Press (231 pages) www.rongreerbooks.com By Bob Marovich It seems odd, at least at first glance, that in the more than forty years since the death of Roberta Martin, one of the most important pioneers of modern gospel music, nobody has written a book about her. Let me clarify: Irene V. Jackson’s impressive dissertation had been for decades the only full-length treatment of Martin, but it is difficult to come by and not for sale.  We’ll Understand It Better By and By, edited by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, dedicates an entire section to Martin, ...

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Kirk Franklin – Losing My Religion

Kirk Franklin Losing My Religion Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA Inspiration (release date: November 15, 2015) https://www.facebook.com/KirkFranklin By Bob Marovich The church, like corporations and labor unions, started out revolutionary and ended up a bureaucracy. How did that happen when Jesus stated that the key to life is simple: “Love one another?” Yet over the centuries, man in his arrogance and vanity has weighted down this universal dictum with so many asterisks that the world has sunk to the bottom of a pool of perpetual confusion. Along these lines, and articulated in an unaccompanied poem that serves as the opening and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 30, 2015

“God’s Got Me” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dexterwalkerandzionmovem From the Chicago choir that won the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound search for the Best Church Choir in America, “God’s Got Me” is a confident declaration of soul comfort sung from within the everlasting arms of the Lord. It’s an embrace that feels so inviting to lead vocalist Minister Tim White that he revs up to testifying by the conclusion. This Percy Bady-produced single, from Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s forthcoming full project release, is less frenetic than we are used to hearing from ZM and Min. Tim White, ...

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Truth Be Told – Voorhies Hanniboheez

Voorhies Hanniboheez Truth Be Told (2015) www.voorhieshanniboheez.com By Bob Marovich When Voorhies Hanniboheez spits rhymes about the G, he’s referencing God, not a gangsta. Actually, listening to the award-winning Detroit hip hop artist’s debut project, Truth Be Told, one might conclude accurately that Hanniboheez is God’s gangsta.  He fights the devil and his crew with the power of his incisive vocalization and take-no-prisoners lyrics.  On more than a few tracks, Hanniboheez explicitly states that he would rather flame with rhyme than use guns on those who have fallen. He shoots with rhymes, not bullets, with the ultimate goal of bringing them ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 23, 2015

“He’s Been Good” Dr. A. Edward Davis Jr. & St. John Mass Choir (feat. Omar Kane) Pure Sound Music Group (release date: September 22, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/draedwarddavisjr With “He’s Been Good,” the St. John Mass Choir echoes the rousing gospel choirs of Chicago’s Fellowship M.B., Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer, and Christian Tabernacle churches, and the famed Thompson Community Singers. A simple, repeated expression of gratitude for blessings bestowed is buoyed by hand-clapping, foot-tapping spiritual enthusiasm—direct, rhythmic, compelling, and timeless—that is as much a trademark of the Chicago gospel choir as marching up the middle aisle in colorful robes. In 2017, the ...

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