Reviews

“Silent Night” – Eddie Ruth Bradford

“Silent Night” Eddie Ruth Bradford Eddie Ruth Bradford Music (2018) By Bob Marovich Eddie Ruth Bradford could sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and it would sound carved out of the Mississippi hills. So it’s no surprise that the Clarksdale, Mississippi, native turns the Christmas classic “Silent Night” into a slice of southern soul as sticky as peach cobbler and just as tasty. She’s assisted by a vocal harmony group and a band with an organ that peeks out of the rhythm section to toss warbled notes like pixie dust. Another win for the “Delta Breeze.”

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Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter – Bringing It Back Home

Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter Bringing it Back Home GMWA Detroit Chapter (release date: September 1, 2018) By Bob Marovich After listening to Bringing it Back Home, I’d say the Detroit Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) has the best choir of all workshop chapters in existence today. This live album, recorded on the 50th anniversary of GMWA’s founding in Detroit, Michigan, evokes those marvelous chapter choir albums and their Sunday morning-ready songs that were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the home of the modern gospel choir movement is situated in Chicago, Detroit ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 19, 2018

“On Time” Bishop Larry D. Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir From the forthcoming Utopia Music Group CD Restored! By Bob Marovich Bishop Larry Trotter’s Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago’s South Side is doing its part to “bring the choir back” (as if it ever left) with “On Time.” The radio-friendly single contains the fiery, full-voiced, no-nonsense sound that listeners come to expect from the Sweet Holy Spirit Choir. The message of God stepping in “right on time” is timeless, and when combined with the pulsating tempo at which the choir moves, the song should bring everybody to their ...

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“I’ve Got Joy” – Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray

“I’ve Got Joy” Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray Fresh Fire Records and Publishing (release date: January 15, 2014) www.reggiecampbell.com By Bob Marovich From Gospel Image Award-winning singer Reggie Campbell’s CD of the same title, “I’ve Got Joy” is an appropriately up-tempo celebration of a fullness of heart. Taking his cue from James 1:2, Campbell sings the glory down in a full but flexible baritone. The quite fantastic Celia King Murray joins him midway through the song to echo the “pure joy” one feels in getting from God “a brand new start.” Later, the background vocalists interpolate the cascading “joy” section from Ricky Dillard ...

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Puchi Colon – We Await (EP)

Puchi Colon We Await (EP) Jovi Music (release date: September 7, 2018) www.puchicolon.com By Bob Marovich On We Await, Puchi Colon, who JGM has cited as the “Miami Sound Machine of Praise & Worship,” steps away from his traditionally zesty, sun-dipped arrangements to present an EP of straightforward P&W. Throughout the 32-minute live presentation, conventional P&W songs uncomplicated in lyric, melody, and arrangement are tagged with animated, almost unceasing, percussion and energetic call-and-response vocalizing. The presence of brass is unmistakable but the players stick to the typical P&W script, not veering into the Latin riffs that distinguished Colon’s previous work. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 13, 2018

“He Worked It Out” The Tommies Reunion Tyscot Records (release date: October 26, 2018) www.tommiesreunion.com By Bob Marovich Darius Brooks, Percy Bady, and a hand-picked group of key members of the Thompson Community Singers from its fifteen-year reign as one of the most influential gospel choirs in America (1982-1997) come together for “He Worked It Out.” Short, simple, and to the point, “He Worked It Out” is the “it’s already done” message bathed in characteristically animated Tommies harmonies, a muscular brass section led by Lloyd Barry, and a rhythmic swagger to catch the attention of those who weren’t even born ...

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CeCe Winans – Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album

CeCe Winans Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album Puresprings Gospel / Thirty Tigers (release date: October 19, 2018) www.cecewinans.com By Bob Marovich With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, new Christmas recordings have begun trickling in. Among the best I’ve heard thus far this season is CeCe Winans’ Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album. One is struck immediately with how much Winans’ voice has deepened in tone since her last solo Christmas album in 1998. She wraps her mellowed voice around the holiday songs on this new release like tongues of flame around a yuletide log. The result is an album as cozy ...

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Jessica Dalla Torre – Into Your Heart

Jessica Dalla Torre Into Your Heart Independent (release date: May 18, 2018) www.jessicadallatorre.com By Bob Marovich Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and with Portuguese roots, the angelic-voiced Jessica Dalla Torre brings her multicultural influences to bear in her worship music. At the same time, her new album, Into Your Heart, was recorded in Nashville and has a distinctly American CCM flavor. The overall vibe of the album’s ten songs is of a living room jam session that occasionally blasts through the roof and explodes like fireworks. This happens whenever Dalla Torre’s emotional singing reaches fever pitch (think Lady Gaga as worship ...

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Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God – Dream Come Alive

Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God Dream Come Alive Cohen Records Available at digital music outlets By Bob Marovich “Born Again,” the drive-tempo opening selection on Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God’s Dream Come Alive, signals that the album is a traditional-leaning project. And it is, though the quartet smooths some of the rough edges to make the music relevant for contemporary audiences. Elder Cohen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Greer, South Carolina, and owner/manager of gospel music radio station WPJM 800 AM, formed the Men of God in 2012. In addition to “Born Again,” Dream Come Alive includes a slow-burner ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 5, 2018

“Waiting on Jesus” True Believers 4 Winds Records (release date: October 23, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich On “Waiting on Jesus,” Castro Coleman and the True Believers exude gobs of enthusiasm about the coming of the Lord. Using the tried-and-true call-and-response format, the group sings about fasting and praying until the great day comes. The song moves with that slow-strutting tempo and the crashing drum backbeat characteristic of deep southern soul gospel quartet singing. The lyrics and music are ready-made for extroverted physical movement by audience and quartet alike. Coleman is no stranger to gospel music. He traces his roots back ...

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