Reviews

The Williams Singers – Destined

The Williams Singers Destined Deznell Music Group (rel. April 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Not to be confused with the Williams Brothers of Mississippi, the Williams Singersis a quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana, the city that brought you, among other artists, Brown’s Inspirational Singers, Robert Turner and the Silver Hearts, and Al “the Bishop” Hobbs. Darnell, Dezrale, and Dezmien are the Indiana Williamses, and their new album, Destined, is one of the best gospel quartet albums I’ve heard this year.  You’ve got to love a group that name checks the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the ...

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DJ Caleb – Got Gospel? Vol. 2

DJ Caleb Got Gospel? Vol. 2 Email: djcaleb@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog DJ Caleb is a gospel DJ, which means he spins gospel music for special events, not on the radio.  He releases mixtapes to promote his turntable talent.  Got Gospel? Vol. 2 is an excellent example of his sampling skills and mix magic. The set opens with a selection of joyfully brisk songs from indie and major gospel artists—Mary Mary and Lecrae to Onitsha and Leah Smith—nearly all of whom have been reviewed and/or interviewed for The Black Gospel Blog at one time or another.  ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: May 12, 2014

“Sunday A.M.” Karen Clark Sheard Karew Records (2014) www.karewrecords.com I knew “Sunday A.M.” had all the makings of a fine gospel single the minute I heard Karen Clark Sheard sing it at her September 2013 live recording session in Chicago.  Unlike Mary Mary’s 2012 “Sunday Morning,” which anticipates services with tambourine-shaking glee, “Sunday A.M.” is the quiescent yearning of a world-weary soul who looks forward to Sunday worship as a time for much-needed refilling and refreshing. The delicate choral touch of Donald Lawrence, who co-wrote the song with Rudy Currence and produced the session with Daniel Weatherspoon, is ever present.  ...

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Roscoe Robinson & the Birmingham BlindBoys – God’s Love Lifted Me Higher

Roscoe Robinson & the Birmingham BlindBoys God’s Love Lifted Me Higher Mississippi Delta Blues (2014) www.mississippideltabluesinfo.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Gospel quartet singers are the Energizer Bunnies of music.  Decade after decade, through innumerable personnel changes and stylistic revolutions, they keep on going. Such is the story of veteran gospel quartet lead Roscoe Robinson.  Although sighted, the 85-year-old Robinson has sung with just about every blind quartet in existence.  He recently organized the Birmingham BlindBoys, named for his Alabama hometown. In April, the Birmingham BlindBoys—Paul Montgomery, Rev. Julius Love, James Perkins, and Robinson—released their debut album ...

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Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers – The Evolution Continues

Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers The Evolution Continues One Voice Media (released March 18, 2014) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Lisa Knowles of Memphis, Tennessee, is one to watch in 2014. Not only does she sing electrifying solos as a member of James Fortune & FIYA, and has guested on many gospel CDs over the past several years, but she demonstrates her devotion to gospel quartet as the leader of Lisa Knowles and the Brown Singers.  The ladies’ latest album, The Evolution Continues, combines contemporary gospel flair with Deep South quartet soulfulness. In ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: May 6, 2014

“Still God” Angel Taylor Epitome (2014) Available from Amazon.com Dressed in a sumptuous sapphire gown, the statuesque Angel Taylor of the Grammy-nominated Trin-i-tee 5:7 sang “Still God” before more than 8,000 at the Allstate Gospel SuperFest in Chicago.  This passionate love song to God, wrapped in a power pop ballad, is from Angel’s forthcoming debut album as a solo artist.  “Nobody can make me feel the way you do, and that is why I love you,” she sings, showcasing Sarah McLachlan-esque breathy soprano notes at the beginning, Rihanna’s chesty delivery in the middle, and flourishes of melismatic gospel in the ...

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The World-Famous Barrett Sisters Wow At CIMMfest

Photo highlights from the screening of The Sweet Sisters of Zion: DeLois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters, produced and directed by Regina Rene. The screening and live performance occurred at the Chicago Independent Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) at Chicago’s Chop Shop/1st Ward Sunday, May 4, 2014.  The audience was so wowed by the documentary that they all but demanded someone reissue all out of print Barrett Sisters recordings and that the film be strongly considered for airing on PBS. Special thanks to the film’s touring team of Prof. L. Stanley Davis, Fran Allen-Leake, and Lynn Orman. Rodessa Barrett ...

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Jai Reed – Songs From My Heart

Jai Reed Songs From My Heart K. Lamp Entertainment, LLC (2014) klampentertainment@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although he is a New Orleans guy, Pastor Jai Reed must still consider it a treat to sing in the Gospel Tent at the Crescent City’s legendary Jazz and Heritage Festival.  This year, he was on the program during the festival’s first weekend, and no doubt performed selections from his new CD, Songs From My Heart. Two components that emerge from the album are Reed’s clear, melodic tenor; and quality songs from the pen of producer/musician/songwriter Kevin Lampton.  First the ...

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The Mckee Choir – What Shall It Take

The Mckee Choir What Shall It Take Sharp Records (2014) http://themckeechoir.bandcamp.com/album/what-shall-it-take By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Named for Rev. James E. Mckee, the Mckee Choir was organized several years ago by Ulannie “Link” Brewer.  The choir’s album, What Shall It Take, was recorded at its home church of Dunham Temple CME in Greenwood, South Carolina, where Rev. Mckee is pastor. The album is reminiscent of the self-produced church choir recordings that proliferated in the 1970s and 1980s.  The 36-member Mckee Choir is a decent group with an above average, albeit uncredited, female lead vocalist whose intense vocal ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: April 28, 2014

Demetrius Woods “Nothing Without You” Available via online retailers April 29, 2014 The artist formerly known as Holy Boy converts Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” into “Nothing Without You.”   The gospelization makes sense.  It’s a short distance lyrically between “If I ain’t got you” to “If I ain’t got you, Jesus.”  Plus, Keys’ song sounded gospel inspired to begin with. Woods maintains fealty to the original in his use of relaxed soul and mellow harmonies, while his vocals transition from smooth to shout.  It is a satisfying version of the 2003 pop hit.

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