Reviews

J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

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Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 8, 2015

“I’ll Make It All Right” Trish Standley From the forthcoming Jan’s Joy CD No One Else www.trishstandley.com Gospel thrush and fashionista Trish Standley covers the Beautiful Zion Missionary Baptist Church Choir of Chicago’s 1973 hit, “I’ll Make It All Right,” with all of the joyous soulful funkiness of the original. The backing group hand claps as Standley delivers the encouraging message, weaving melodic lines in her upper register. Standley didn’t have to do much more than reprise the original to make it musically relevant because it was ahead of its time when it was released more than 40 years ago. ...

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Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure – #GETITDONE

Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure #GETITDONE Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com Syndicated radio host, choir director, worship pastor, former model, Stellar Award winner, recording artist, CEO, educator, and now clothing line owner, Lonnie Hunter is gospel’s Renaissance Man. Despite his busy schedule with “The Lonnie Hunter Show” and as host of the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, Hunter and his choir, Structure, recently rolled out their fifth release, #GETITDONE. The album features P&W lyrics set to creamy choral arrangements, some of which evoke the rich church choir tradition of Hunter’s Chicago upbringing. Paying indirect tribute to Hunter’s prior work with Chicago’s Voices of St. ...

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“All Praise” – Anton Milton & Glorified

“All Praise” Anton Milton & Glorified Lunjeal Music Group/Malaco Music Group (2015) www.malaco.com South Carolina native Anton Milton, now working out of New Jersey, cites Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, and John P. Kee among his inspirations. His single, “All Praise,” testifies to this with its energetic ensemble vibe. The kind of cheerful though somewhat conventional R&P selection that worship teams like to open the service with, “All Praise” features plenty of antiphonal vocal play between Milton and Glorified. The ensemble comes from Allen Carr’s Lunjeal Music Group, the Arkansas imprint that gave us Allen’s daughter, Jekalyn Carr. Lunjeal’s partnership with ...

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Brad + Rebekah – All You’ve Done

Brad + Rebekah All You’ve Done Discovery House (release date: June 2, 2015) http://bradandrebekahmusic.com By Bob Marovich On their national debut album, All You’ve Done, Brad + Rebekah, a husband-and-wife praise team, loft their admiration and gratitude melodically, and vertically, to the Most High. The album opens, appropriately, with “Wake Up.” It is a Brad-led clarion call about resurrection day that uses power pop as a brisk slap, reminding listeners to be spiritually ready for the end of times at all times. The duo’s tuneful “When We Gather,” “Be Here Now,” and “Body of Christ” set the table for worship, ...

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“Holy Spirit” – Marjane’

“Holy Spirit” Marjane’ J Jane Music Group (2015) www.marjanemusic.com Marjane’s lovely vocals float over this passionate, urgent call for spiritual guidance in daily life. The background vocalists are all Marjane, too—a multi-tracking technique first used in gospel in the early 1950s by Clara Ward and fellow West Coaster Doris Akers. The R&B flavor to the track harkens back to Marjane’s initial pursuit of a secular music career before she tired of being objectified by a fashion-and-looks obsessed industry. Singing for God was how she began and where she returned. “Holy Spirit” is the Stellar-nominated indie singer-songwriter’s latest radio single and a ...

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“Thank You” – Tonya Lewis-Taylor

“Thank You” Tonya Lewis-Taylor From the CD Delayed But Not Denied www.tonyalewistaylor.com “Thank You” is a contemporary gospel song delivered energetically by Tonya Lewis-Taylor, who seems to summon her estimable vocal strength from within several vital organs to offer a declaration of gratitude to God. The background vocalists urge her on as, together, they ascend to increasing levels of passion. The song, which is the lead single from Lewis-Taylor’s debut album, Delayed But Not Denied, was recorded live in New York City and landed on the Billboard Gospel National Airplay chart at #16, right between female vocal groups Zie’l and ...

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Rev. J.C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy – Don’t You Forget to Remember

Rev. J. C. Jenkins & the Sounds of Joy Don’t You Forget to Remember Sharp Records (2015) www.sharprecordsusa.com www.reverbnation.com/revjcjenkinsthesoundsofjoy By Bob Marovich The Sounds of Joy, featuring the hard-singing lead vocals of Rev. J. C. Jenkins, is a nod to the deep southern soul quartet sound of the 1970s and 1980s. The major seventh Northern Soul harmonies combined with Jenkins’ pulpit-hued raspy lead vocals are most evident on “He’s Done It All for Me,” the opening track on the group’s Sharp Records album, Don’t You Forget to Remember. The song’s recounting of biblical miracles establishes the premise that if He did it ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2015

“In His Hands” The McDonald Sisters Ra-Ola Music Inc. (release date: April 1, 2015) A family group with more than 30 years of gospel singing experience, the McDonald Sisters of Fayetteville, North Carolina, continue to represent traditional gospel quartet with their new single, “In His Hands.” To an aisle-walking, handclapping tempo propelled by distinctive southern soulfulness, the ladies put their burdens and their deliverance in God’s hands. They instruct listeners to do the same. They know whereof they speak. Members Valerie, Deborah, Evelyn, Pamela, and matriarch Priscilla have survived cancer, a stroke, and a ruptured appendix, among other challenges. The ...

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