Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: July 6, 2015

“He Touched Me” Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid and the Traditional Gospel Choir www.loudellaevansreid.com If you like that aggressive, churchy gospel choir sound that came straight outta Chicago, false coda and all, you will love “He Touched Me.” This Thurston Frazier chestnut is given a full-throttle reading by the Traditional Gospel Choir, presented by Rev. Bryant Jones and directed by Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid. Both Jones and Reid have plenty of trad cred. Jones is a pastor and the son of gospel singer Jeannette Robinson Jones and the late Rev. Billy Jones. Reid is the longstanding and aerobic directress of the Fellowship Missionary ...

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E. L. Williams – Where Sin Met the Blood

E. L. Williams Where Sin Met the Blood Tate Music Group (2015) www.tatemusicgroup.com By Bob Marovich There was a time when bass singers were compulsory for any self-respecting quartet, but today they are as rare as hen’s teeth, save for classical music and opera, where the basso profundo remains the voice of maturity and wisdom, and retro doo-wop groups. Gospel quartet was once notably gifted with such legendary bottom-supporters as George McCurn (Pilgrim Travelers), Jimmy Jones (Harmonizing Four), Dickie Freeman (Fairfield Four, Skylarks), and Thomas Spann (Brooklyn All Stars), the latter being among the last of his breed still on ...

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Sada K – Long Story Short

Sada K Long Story Short (released January 2015) www.sadakmusic.com By Bob Marovich “Everyone has a story,” Sada K says in the opening moments of her solo CD, Long Story Short. Her story, she admits, was stained with tears, but it’s “time to shine the light.” And for forty minutes, that’s what Sada (like Jayda with an S) does. The album is a fourteen-track testimony that chronicles the singer’s ups and downs, and her ultimate victory. The testimony is real. The Kansas City-raised Sada, lead singer for Christian pop band Press Play, had her singing career nearly derailed when she developed ...

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“Empty Me” – Javon Inman

“Empty Me” Javon Inman www.javoninman.com Set for release on July 7, “Empty Me” is the latest single from award-winning independent gospel artist Javon Inman. Performed with background vocalists, “Empty Me” is a passionate and bracing mid-tempo ballad on which Inman cries out for divine intervention because “the plans of men,” aka a person’s own agenda, does nothing but cause problems. “I’m placing my life in your hands,” he pleads. “Empty me of me.” Inman’s high note leaps are mini shouts as the song’s dynamic tension builds. Born in Ohio but now a Washington, DC, area resident, Inman came to the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 29, 2015

“Back 2 Life” Juzang From the EP Back 2 Life www.juzangmusic.com Check out the home page of the website of Alabama-based female gospel/inspirational group Juzang, and you will see the trio peacefully slumbering. Make no mistake: the ladies aren’t slumbering on their single, “Back 2 Life.”  They make a joyful noise by coupling sweet harmonies with powerful pulsating blasts of EDM. The song encourages listeners to put their trust in Jesus because “he’s got that power.” Representing power on the single is a sonic explosion of thumping electronic rhythm, courtesy of producer Fred “Blaze” Crawford. Gospel music runs in the ...

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Jimmy Needham – Vice & Virtue

Jimmy Needham Vice & Virtue Platinum Pop Records (released May 4, 2015) www.jimmyneedham.com By Bob Marovich Christian artist Jimmy Needham gives us plenty to ponder on Vice & Virtue, his seventh album and first for his own imprint, Platinum Pop Records. Needham’s music is youthful and rhythmic, a playful potpourri of melodic pop and R&B that will put listeners in mind of fellow blue eyed soul children Bryan Popin, Sam Smith, Mayer Hawthorne, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Justin Timberlake. “Thank You,” a breathless ode of gratitude, has vestiges of the muscle twitching 1980s Minneapolis Sound pioneered by Prince. Another devotional, ...

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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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JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2015

“Something About That Name” Lorraine Stancil Anointed Sounds Records (2015) I’m rather stoked about the recent release of so many traditional-style gospel singles, including this one by Psalmist Lorraine Stancil-Lawson. Product of the Pentecostal church, Psalmist Stancil is known to kick off her shoes just like Shirley Caesar, and on “Something About that Name,” she shouts and squalls like Pastor Caesar in full throes of sanctified passion. Stancil’s call and response with the background vocalists/choir heightens the tension to the point where she emits a couple of dog whistle soprano notes. Also like Caesar, Lorraine Stancil-Lawson has entered the ministry. ...

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“Find a Way to Love” – Mr. McCloud

“Find a Way to Love” Mr. McCloud Concrete Records Available on iTunes starting July 1, 2015 On “Find a Way to Love,” Detroit Pastor Robert McCloud puts his estimable hip hop experience to work in the service of good. He offers a general apology to all those he has hurt in the past, and in song and rap asks God to help him “love a little bit more.” Specifically, McCloud wants to leave and stay out of a world full of falsehood and hate and find his way to a world full of love, where he has a family, children, ...

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