Reviews

The Heart of Nancey Jackson Johnson

Nancey Jackson Johnson The Heart of Nancey Jackson Johnson Camdon Music 2014 www.CamdonMusic.com By Bob Marovich I have enjoyed listening to Nancey Jackson Johnson solo on several projects over the past few years, beginning with “Lead Me to the Rock,” from Rev. Stef & Jubilation’s 2006 The Launch Out Project.   Nancey’s powerfully expressive voice adds luster to just about any song. Naturally, therefore, I was quite eager to hear her debut solo CD, The Heart of Nancey Jackson Johnson, released on Donnie McClurkin’s Camdon Music imprint. The album, released last month, contains songs with worship lyrics set to contemporary gospel with ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: July 21, 2014

“I Believe” Dr. Marcus Cosby & the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir From the 2012 CD Oh to Be Kept By Jesus (Anniversary Edition) Available on Amazon.com “I Believe” is a robust, stadium-sized praise anthem and assertion of personal belief from the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir of Houston, Texas.  The orchestral flourishes come courtesy of the Nashville String Machine. The passionate song turns out to be the final recorded solo for the church’s music minister, the late Henry “Hanq” Neal.  A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native and former member of the Pentecostal Ambassadors and Donald Vails Choraleers, Neal ...

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Chanel – Trin-i-tee 5:7 According to Chanel

Chanel Trin-i-tee 5:7 According to Chanel Obsidian Records (release date: June 17, 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Chanel’s solo debut, Trin-i-tee 5:7 According to Chanel, deserves the superlative “CD Most Likely to Be Released as Vinyl.”  The art design by Shamael Lataillade focuses on paisley-bracketed images of Chanel Haynes Schwartz and a record player so old it still bears the 16 speed.  The CD is deigned to look like a 45 rpm record, and indeed the songs, all with one word titles, are radio-sized and have the punchy drive of 1970s and 1980s soul hits.  So ...

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Andrea McClurkin-Mellini – Higher

Andrea McClurkin-Mellini Higher Camdon Music (June 17, 2014) www.camdonmusic.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Sister of gospel star Pastor Donnie McClurkin, singer-songwriter Andrea McClurkin-Mellini is no newcomer to gospel music.  She was a member of the McClurkin Singers and a charter member of the New York Restoration Mass Choir.  She penned the title track to the family’s 2007 Gospocentric album, We Praise You.  Still, Higher represents her first full-length solo album, and it is an accomplished debut.  “God Can,” written by Pastor Donnie, is the album’s radio-friendly single, a song of faith and encouragement with plenty of ...

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Mr. Del & Rod G. Newman – Geeks & Gangstas

Mr. Del & Rod G. Newman Geeks & Gangstas Holy South/Geek World Entertainment/DMG (released April 1, 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although Mr. Del’s Hope Dealer just hit the streets, not long ago the Grammy and Dove-nominated Christian rapper from Memphis joined forces with Rod G. Newman of Birmingham, Alabama, to create Geeks & Gangstas.  The album, available at online music stores but also via free download from Noisetrade (tips welcome), plays the two artists’ styles off one another.  Newman is a bowtie-wearing self-described “Jesus Geek” and Del is the gruff-voiced, street-savvy former gangsta rapper.  Despite ...

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Disciples of Christ – Renewed Praise

Disciples of Christ Renewed Praise D.O.C. Productions/B.A.D. Entertainment Disciplesofchristgospel@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog From Houston, Texas, the Disciples of Christ is a family female traditional gospel quartet group with plenty of contemporary flair.   Evocative of Lisa Brown & the Knowles Singers and Vetrea Stack Ruffin & the Ruffin Family, the Disciples are two pairs of mothers and daughters:  Arlene Jackson Bell, Shirley Benson, Shaniece Cleveland, and Candice Jackson.  They won the Texas Gospel Excellence Award Female Group of the Year four years running, from 2010 to 2013, and are heading to Switzerland to appear in a ...

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Eric Thomas – Keep On Climbin’

Eric Thomas Keep On Climbin’ Self-released (2009) www.cdbaby.com/cd/ethomasmusic By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Keep On Climbin’ by Chicago singer Eric Thomas could easily be subtitled “With the Sons of Chicago Gospel Legends.” That’s because Richard Gibbs (Inez Andrews’s son), Bryant Jones (Rev. Billy Jones and Jeanette Robinson Jones’s son), and Joey Woolfalk (Johnny Woolfalk’s son) are among the album’s musicians.  And to top things off, the legendary Gene Barge (Checker Records) produced the album and plays sax on one track.  Eric Thomas can call such leading lights together because he is no stranger to Chicago music.  He ...

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Minister L. Jones – Hallelujah to His Name

Minister L. Jones Hallelujah to His Name Sharper Brothers (released January 16, 2014) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d wager that the early work of Commissioned and the Winans had more than a smidgen of influence on the singing style of Minister Lorenza “LoJo” Jones of Birmingham, Alabama.  They and ’80s soul balladeers Billy Ocean and Jeffrey Osborne. This is the mix you experience on Minister Jones’ solo album, Hallelujah to His Name.  The ten tracks have a back-to-the-Eighties vibe, mixed with a preacher’s penchant for declarative instruction. ...

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“Beautiful” – Wincey

Wincey “Beautiful” From the CD Time to Say (2012) www.winceyco.com Wincey Terry-Bryant’s “Beautiful” is an acoustic love song to God, though it could also be an acoustic love song to another person, or even encouragement to one’s self, for that matter. Its lithe, lilting melody is lovely and in sync with other tracks on the Jersey City, New Jersey, native’s debut album, Time To Say, which she began recording in 2008 and released four years later. Although it may have difficulty breaking into gospel radio, which currently favors a denser, more flamboyant form of praise, “Beautiful” is the kind of ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: July 7, 2014

“Amazing Worth” Charles Butler & Trinity feat. Jeremiah Hicks From the EPM Music Group CD Better www.epmmusicgroup.com Gospel enthusiasts first became aware of Washington, DC’s Charles Butler & Trinity when the ensemble backed Earnest Pugh on his 2009 hit, “Rain On Us.”  In February 2013, the group released its debut album, Better, on Pugh’s EPM Music Group imprint. “Amazing Worth” is the latest single release off of Better.  While the song follows Pugh’s formula for delivering graceful P&W anthems, the passion of the singers is what sells it. Together with the musicians, Jeremiah Hicks and Trinity eke every ounce of ...

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