Reviews

Favour – Fisherman

Favour Fisherman Sharlat Records (2016) www.sharpradiogospelsuperfest.com By Bob Marovich On Fisherman, their six-track EP, Detroit quartet Favour is all about getting you ready…for your blessings, for a miracle, and for the day Jesus returns. Favour is a sweet-singing quartet with the smoothness of Atlantic Starr and the Manhattans, though Shawn Upshaw’s lead vocal incorporates traditional gospel techniques. So do the lyrics, which fit squarely in the quartet mode of preaching, teaching, and in Favour’s case, preparing. Indeed, two songs telegraph preparation in their titles: “Better Be Ready” and “Things are Gonna Happen.” And in “How I Know,” the group sings that ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 20, 2017

“Continuous Praise (Over and Over)” Zion’s Joy! Damascus Road Recording (release date: January 14, 2017) www.zionsjoy.com On “Continuous Praise (Over and Over),” Zion’s Joy!, an eleven-member multicultural gospel group from Indianapolis, evokes Kirk Franklin’s ensembles with its staccato vocals, musical swagger, ear candy hooks, and professional production. It’s a praise song with the zest to lift congregants up out of the pews and into the aisles, especially during the vamp, when the singers move into Friends of Distinction mode and begin singing contrapuntal motives. A workout mix, released in February, accentuates the electronica to optimize aerobic effort. Founded in 2008 ...

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Sandra McCracken – God’s Highway

Sandra McCracken God’s Highway Independent release (release date: September 9, 2016) www.sandramccracken.com By Bob Marovich Modern day hymnist Sandra McCracken’s latest CD, God’s Highway (also available on vinyl), continues where her 2015 Psalms left off: new songs based on Biblical texts and that sound as if they came from the Primitive Baptist Church hymnbook. McCracken’s beguiling voice combines the cry of Beth Nielsen Chapman and the world-weariness of Emmylou Harris. Her lonesome singing combined with an understated combo and songs with heavy chords but bright melodies give listeners a sense of eavesdropping on the prayers of someone emerging, victorious but ...

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“Trust In You” – Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy

“Trust In You” Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy From the forthcoming album A Long Way from Sunday www.tyscot.com Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy burst onto the gospel scene in 2012 with their self-titled album for Tyscot, but really raked in the accolades with their second album, Everyday Jesus.  It took home ten trophies at the 2016 Stellar Awards, including State Farm Song of the Year for “Worth.” The group just released “Trust in You,” the first single from its forthcoming next album, A Long Way from Sunday. The Brown-penned single doesn’t waste any time getting its message of faith across. Within a couple ...

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Leon Triplett – God is in Control

Leon Triplett God is in Control Triplett Records www.TriplettRecords.com By Bob Marovich In the early 1970s, Chicago’s Leon Triplett was making soul records for Curtom/Thomas Records with his twin brother Levi. The Triplett Twins’ 1972 “Pretty Please” even got a second life when it was heard in Big Stone Gap, an Adriana Trigiani-directed film starring Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jane Krakowski. Leon went on to be a songwriter for Brunswick Records and continues to work the circuit. With the seven-track God is in Control, Leon Triplett goes gospel, stamping a ‘70s disco-soul style onto his songs. Swirls of synth ...

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“Step Back, Watch God Move” – Minister R.L. Taylor and the Sons of the Father

“Step Back, Watch God Move” Minister R. L. Taylor and the Sons of the Father Independent (release date: November 1, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/Artist/MinisterRLTaylorandtheSonsofth A song that just aches for quartet choreography. To a loping backbeat, “Step Back, Watch God Move” teaches that when problems get too tough for you to handle, just let God take over. The chorus hook, “step back, just wait, and watch God move,” offers an ideal pantomime opportunity for the Sons of the Father to do in live performance, especially at the end of the song, when the group and Minister Taylor engage in some slightly syncopated ...

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Carolyn Traylor – The Best of My Story

Carolyn Traylor The Best of My Story Traylor Made Music Group (release date: March 31, 2017) By Bob Marovich Working in the traditional-or-die mode of such artists as Dottie Peoples, Beverly Crawford, and Lemmie Battles, Carolyn Traylor of Greenville, Texas, flexes her vocal muscles on her latest album, the thoroughly enjoyable The Best of My Story. Recorded live at Shreveport’s Peaceful Rest Baptist Church, the album finds Traylor, called the “Texas Powerhouse” in Derrell Hobdy’s introduction, varying from sweet to squall on eleven selections of mostly churchy fare. I say mostly, because “Victory” and “He Did It All” have a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 6, 2017

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” Out of the Dust Discovery House Music (release date: March 7, 2017) www.outofthedustmusic.com I’m inclined to think that English songwriter Stuart Townend is a nineteenth-century hymnist reincarnated. His 1995 composition, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” as covered by the husband-and-wife duo Out of the Dust on their self-titled debut album, sounds like it comes straight outta the Southern Harmony, a shaped-note hymnal, or a Shaker hymnbook. Its beautiful simplicity, honored by Chris and Stephanie Teague’s delicate reading, makes it a keeper, suitable for singing in all types of worship services and ...

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Out of the Dust – (self titled)

Out of the Dust (s/t) Discovery House Music (release date: March 7, 2017) www.outofthedustmusic.com By Bob Marovich Some of the best songs are birthed out of suffering. For Out of the Dust’s Chris and Stephanie Teague, the circumstances of their separation, divorce, and remarriage, and their reliance on Jesus for healing, provided the raw material for the eleven songs on their self-titled debut LP. Despite the pain behind the Teague’s story, the album’s music buzzes with the gratitude of having made it through.  It offers pleasant pop melodies, bright production, and duet singing that evokes the informality of coffee house ...

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Judy Jacques – The Sixties Sessions

Judy Jacques The Sixties Sessions Playback (2016) www.playbackrecords.net By Bob Marovich In the early 1960s, while teens were swooning over the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Judy Jacques, an Australian youth, was soaking up whatever American gospel records she could get her hands on. At the same time, Australia’s Yarra Yarra New Orleans Jazz Band was introducing Melbourne audiences to traditional American Dixieland style jazz. Combined, Jacques and the Yarras gave Australians a bracing and remarkably authentic taste of black gospel and spirituals. In the process, Jacques became Australia’s Queen of Gospel and Trad Jazz. A comprehensive survey of Jacques’s 1960’s ...

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