Reviews

Reverend Charlie Jackson – Lord You’re So Good

Reverend Charlie Jackson Lord You’re So Good: Live Recordings, Vol. 2 Fifty Miles of Elbow Room #6 www.50milesofelbowroom.com By Bob Marovich In 2003, Kevin Nutt’s CaseQuarter label issued the first comprehensive collection of vintage recordings by the guitar-toting Louisianan preacher Reverend Charlie Jackson. The CD compilation of impossibly rare 45 rpm singles produced by Robert Booker or Jackson himself showcased the fiery preacher, very possibly the last of his breed, lofting trebly licks and chugging away on his Fender Mustang. Most of us figured that was the first and last word on Rev. Jackson, who passed away in 2006. Not so. ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Nothing But Grace

Mighty Men of Faith Nothing But Grace N2L Records (2014) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Nothing But Grace is the latest album by California’s Mighty Men of Faith, a quartet that rolls contemporary, musically and lyrically. Musically, the quartet paints a smooth patina—like an aural Dippity-Do—on their harmonies, giving the overall impression of a 1980s soul vocal group gone gospel. Likewise, the group’s vertical praise lyrics have more in common with the repertory of today’s small choirs than gospel quartets, which tend to stay faithful to verses about life’s trials and faith in God as a solution. The Mighty Men’s harmonies are ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 12, 2015

“Brand New Day” 21:03 From the PMG Gospel CD Outsiders (release date: February 24, 2015) www.pajam-music.com What better way to start the new year than to celebrate a brand new day? That is what the two who now comprise 21:03—Evin Martin and Torrence Greene—do on “Brand New Day.” An energetic disco beat and brisk arrangement complement the duo as they play off one another in kicking all bad things to the curb and embracing new beginnings by faith. The song comes nearly twelve years after the Stellar Award-winning group’s launch, January 21, 2003, the date that also inspired its name.

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Stryper – Live at the Whisky

Stryper Live at the Whisky Frontiers Records (rel. September 23, 2014) www.stryper.com By Bob Marovich Jesus is the rock that makes Stryper roll. I wish I could take credit for such a clever line, but it is actually a paraphrase of a song title on Live at the Whisky by Stryper, the first Christian metal band to gain mainstream acceptance. As a young person, I loved all kinds of music, including heavy metal.  It was a treat, therefore, to hear on Live at the Whisky the familiar thunderous, auditorium-filling, zone-out music I remembered but with positive messages of encouragement, fidelity to ...

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Brian Courtney Wilson – Worth Fighting For

Brian Courtney Wilson Worth Fighting For Motown Gospel (release date: January 6, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Some singers are songwriters and some songwriters are singers. Brian Courtney Wilson is a songwriter—more appropriately a hymnist—who also sings. But make no mistake: the Stellar Award winning and Dove Award nominated Wilson is also a strong singer. One among a generation of male gospel crooners, Wilson has released a stack of quality selections ever since his breakout hit, “All I Need.” It is simply that his songwriting is doubly inspired. Produced by Motown Gospel VP and A&R man, Aaron Lindsey, and recorded ...

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“Thicker Than Water” Season Two Opens with More Life than Lifestyle

“Thicker than Water” Season Two begins Sunday, January 4, 2015, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT Bravo Media www.nbcunv.com/bravo By Bob Marovich If last season’s premiere of the Tankard Family’s reality television show, “Thicker Than Water,” was about lifestyle, the opener of the second season is about life. The opening episode, to air this evening, opens with the wealthy extended family of gospel jazz artist Ben Tankard preparing for daughter Cyrene’s high school graduation party at the self-proclaimed Tankard Palace in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (although I think I heard son Benji refer to it, with tongue in cheek, as “Bentown”). Several Tankard children rue, ...

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foreverJONES – Prayer Tools, Vol. 1

foreverJONES Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 (released November 11, 2014) www.prayerproject.foreverjones.com By Bob Marovich With its latest release, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1, foreverJONES may well have heralded a new subgenre of black sacred music: ambient inspirational. It is the Shreveport, Louisiana-based family band’s first project after departing EMI Gospel and first on its own label. The more than 150 minute-long project, only available digitally at the moment, contains seven individual song compositions and a bonus track, with additional instrumental versions of four selections. Experimental in sound and structure, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 is designed to help worshipers enter into an ongoing dialogue ...

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“Amazing” – Rev. Julian Turner feat. the Turner Family

“Amazing” Reverend Julian Turner feat. the Turner Family Available on iTunes Reverend Dr. Julian Turner follows his exercise-inspired single, “Let’s Move for Jesus,” with another mover, “Amazing.” Produced by Michael Sutton and recorded with Rev. Turner’s family on harmonies, “Amazing” is a brassy praiser with a pop melody propelled by a vigorous island beat. It is unpretentious in lyric and easy in arrangement. Turner is Pastor of Temple #230, Church of the Living God, C.W.F.F., in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a treat to hear a song associated with the Church of the Living God, which in the beginning modeled its ...

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Meka King – Believe. The Live Recording

Meka King Believe. The Live Recording Sonflower Joy Music (rel. October 28, 2014) www.mekaking.com By Bob Marovich Those who attended Praise & Worship Leader Meka King’s live recording session at The Gathering Place Church in Sanford, Florida, on February 18, 2012, entered a gospel concert but exited a church service. Believe. The Live Recording is King’s sophomore CD and the product of the February 2012 recording session. The two-disc set is brimming with bold, dramatic P&W arrangements.  Most were recorded live, with a few final tracks sounding as if they were made in a studio. After a theatrical spoken word intro, the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 30, 2014

“Can You Feel His Glory” foreverJONES From Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 (released November 2014) www.foreverjones.com Turns out that the shortest song on the two-and-a-half-hour Prayer Tools Vol. 1 by foreverJONES is the best. With only piano and organ as accompaniment, Djeniele evokes the majesty of yesterday’s church soloists with her flawless reading of her brother Judah Jones’ s “Can You Feel His Glory.” From its hushed opening and D’jeniele (Jones) Hooten’s increasingly expansive vocals to the achingly beautiful conclusion, this exquisite jewel of a hymn—one of the finest released this year—demonstrates how less is more.

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