Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: December 31, 2019

“He Never Failed Me Yet” Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir From The Greater Harvest Experience, Vol. 1: Broadcast Edition (release date: October 29, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnellnicholasthegreaterharve By Bob Marovich For decades, Chicago’s Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church has had a touch of Pentecostalism in its worship and music. Though the church hasn’t recorded in quite some time, its Sanctuary Choir recently released an eight-track live project, two years in the making, called the Greater Harvest Experience. The album captures the Bapticostal feel of the church’s worship services. The album includes “He Never Failed Me Yet,” a full-bodied choral workout ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 16, 2019

“Kingdom Come” Churchppl and Sir the Baptist Tymple Music (release date: December 13, 2019) By Bob Marovich What “Kingdom Come” lacks in total running time it more than makes up for in theatricality—from a thudding Pentecostal backbeat to ever-shifting musical textures. Like Moses with Pharaoh, the song depicts a standoff between the power of the people and the people with the power. It’s clear who has right on their side and who is going to win in the end. Sir the Baptist mines his family’s Mississippi roots to construct the song’s dramatic ensemble singing. Insisting that they are not a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 10, 2019

“You Deserve” Angela Moss Poole 141st Lane Music (release date: May 24, 2019) www.AngelaMossPoole.com By Bob Marovich Angela Moss Poole gives her own composition, “You Deserve,” a deliciously light touch. The song moves from gentle to overflowing and back again as Angela realizes that trying to describe God ultimately leads to simply praising the indescribable. She brings to this worship song her talent and experience writing for television, film, and in other music genres. It shows in the song’s CCM delicacy, in its gospel guts, and in its pop music construction. Dr. Angela Moss Poole is a graduate of Florida ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 4, 2019

“Okay” Rahdyah Renee’ Mike2Mike Music (release date: October 29, 2019) www.rahdyahrenee.com By Bob Marovich “Okay,” the debut single by Philadelphia-born vocalist Rahdyah Renee’, latches onto your subconscious in the first few bars and doesn’t let go until you sit up and take notice. It’s a well-crafted, and well-sung, sacred pop song that reassures listeners life will get better, no matter how bad it seems. God has your back. Michael R. Stokes and Johana McCoy are the writers on “Okay.” A background vocalist for Jekalyn Carr, Rahdyah has also performed with the Voices of Zamar gospel group. Her sound is evocative ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 25, 2019

“Do You Know Him” The Fantastic Bibletones From the CD Just As I Am (release date: July 22, 2019) https://www.thefantasticbibletones.com/ By Bob Marovich Former Pick of the Week recipients the Fantastic Bibletones are back with a spirited redux of Brother Joe May’s 1950 breakout hit, “Do You Know Him.” The female quartet from St. Louis takes the Mary Lou Coleman Parker original and turns it into an aisle-walker, fueled by steady drums, pounding piano, and a marvelous power-packed vamp fueled by call-and-response. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 19, 2019

“Happy” Edward “Busta” Fields & Friends DarkChild Gospel / BF Sounds Music (release date: April 21, 2019) By Bob Marovich Edward “Busta” Fields & Friends’ new single “Happy” is not a gospelized version of the Pharrell Williams hit from 2013 but a declaration that “holiness is right” and that all happiness comes through faithfulness to the Lord. Produced by Bubby Fann and Richard “Tubbs” Smith, this earnest pledge of discipleship blends today’s extroverted Millennial gospel sound with fundamental workshop choir techniques. Fields’ attractively husky baritone shifts from melodic to gruff to full-on shout as the song, propelled by smooth-singing background ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 11, 2019

“Leave It Alone” Alvin Darling From the Emtro Gospel CD Leave It Alone (release date: September 20, 2019) By Bob Marovich From singer, songwriter, pastor, and Stellar and Dove Award nominee Alvin Darling comes “Leave It Alone,” a quartet-flavored roof-raiser. The verses string together familiar church aphorisms while the chorus sums it up: “God can fix it better than you can.” An agreeable lead vocal with ample support from background vocalists and musicians evoke Darling’s zesty 2003 album, Waiting Right Here. His foundation in quartet and Pentecostal music is evident throughout the single, which is short and simple but effective.

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 4, 2019

“Saved” April Hall Enon Music Group (release date: March 27, 2019) By Bob Marovich The featured soloist on Damon Little’s 2016 Billboard-charting “I Won’t Be Defeated,” April Hall returns with her own single, “Saved.” This new take on a traditional song finds Hall singing with austerity while the musicians and background vocalists move at double time. Halfway through, she drops the austerity and begins to deliver her trademark church-wrecking shouts, growls, and whoos, learned from a lifetime of listening to gospel quartets in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. By the end, you can imagine her engaging in a holy dance. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2019

“I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice” Marcel McManus Sr. Independent (release date: September 4, 2018) By Bob Marovich Sometimes you just need to hear gospel done the old fashioned way, like they used to do in church: solo voice and piano. A young man with an old soul, Marcel McManus Sr. accompanies himself on piano on a cover of Harrison Johnson’s testimonial, “I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice.” The singer takes what was originally arranged for choir and turns it into a solo spotlight, offering up a host of vocal flowers and frills while staying true to the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 21, 2019

“All In His Plan” PJ Morton feat. Le’Andria Johnson and Mary Mary Morton Inspiration/Tyscot (release date: September 20, 2019) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “All In His Plan” addresses the issue we all grapple with: why do bad or hurtful things happen to us when God has the power to wipe it all away? The song’s conclusion: it’s “all in His plan.” There is a reason for everything—we just can’t see it yet. As maddening as it feels sometimes, we have to put our trust in God “because He already worked it out, in the end.” PJ Morton gives the ballad ...

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