Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: March 18, 2019

“I’ll Do It For You” The Fantastic Bibletones BTones Music (release date: January 29, 2019) www.thefantasticbibletones.com By Bob Marovich Not the Buffalo, New York, group of yesteryear, this Fantastic Bibletones is a female gospel quartet from St. Louis, Missouri, that sounds like a church-honed Sister Sledge. The ladies’ new single, “I’ll Do It For You,” is a bouncy, cheery ode to discipleship with an infectious rhythm section, fine call-and-response, and a bluesy vamp. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, the Fantastic Bibletones re-energized in 2009. They released two ...

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“You Deserve My Praise” – M’Renee

“You Deserve My Praise”M’ReneeFrom the EP You Deserve My Praise (2014)www.mreneemusik.com By Bob Marovich “Chosen” might be the single, but the title track of M’Renee’s EP You Deserve My Praise is more memorable.  It is an uncomplicated rhythm and praise offering that bristles with the sunny electronica and perky beat of today’s pop radio. That’s the way the Richmond, Virginia, songstress rolls. Her arrangements tend to be aerobic, the melodies and lyrics optimistic and encouraging. It’s worship and dance music blended into a ball of steady rolling energy. “You Deserve My Praise” is characteristic of her catalog.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 11, 2019

“Haven’t Seen It Yet” Danny Gokey Sparrow / Capitol Christian Music Group (release date: January 11, 2019) www.dannygokeymusic.com By Bob Marovich After a two-year hiatus, American Idol finalist and CCM star Danny Gokey is back with a new single, “Haven’t Seen It Yet.” The single evokes in melody and arrangement the pop hits of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, while the lyrics about the force of faith have the kind of dance-ready beat that propelled Jamie Grace’s equally motivational 2014 single, “Do Life Big.” Gokey’s album of the same title is scheduled for release in April.

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“I Need You” – Jermane C. Milton

“I Need You” Jermane C. Milton Harmony House Ministries (release date: April 14, 2017) Available on Amazon By Bob Marovich It may be that Jermane C. Milton’s cover of Shirley Caesar’s “This Joy,” made over with slamming funk bass runs courtesy of James Coleman, is the artist’s single and what earned him a 2018 Rhythm of Gospel Award for Urban Contemporary Male Vocalist, but for my money, it’s his “I Need You” that deserves the attention. A simple, light, piano-led melodic praise ballad whose only fault is a more-than-five-minute length, “I Need You” starts undistinguished enough, but Milton and his ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 4, 2019

“It’s All About You” Rev. Stef & Jubilation (independent, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/RevStefandJubilation By Bob Marovich The Reverend Dr. Stefanie Minatee, aka Rev. Stef, is back doing what she loves—directing Jubilation, the gospel choir that, among other achievements, backed Queen Latifah on the title track of the GRAMMY Award-winning various artists gospel compilation, Oh Happy Day (EMI, 2009). After recovering from an April 2015 stroke that severely impacted her mobility, Rev. Stef is now preparing the choir for a 20th anniversary performance in June at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  It was there that the ensemble formed initially to accompany Evangelist ...

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“A Carol for All Children” – His Love Singers

“A Carol for All Children”His Love SingersOpus One Studios (2018)www.opusonestudios.com By Bob Marovich Alan Salisbury and Whitney Parnell’s “A Carol for All Children” celebrates the religious differences that too often threaten to divide countries.  We are all God’s children, the song reminds, regardless of race or creed. Though the lyrics reference how cultures celebrate holidays differently, this simple, charming carol is not just for the holidays.  The four-track EP includes a gospel and choral version, directed and arranged by Charles Brown and rendered by the full-throated His Love Singers, an austere reading by the Harmony Interfaith Choir recorded live; and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 25, 2019

“Blessing Me” CHurCHicago Independent (release date: February 8, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/Churchicago By Bob Marovich The first couple of singles by CHurCHicago left me regretfully nonplussed, but their latest, “Blessing Me,” is a different story. A drive-tempo selection fitted with a fiery vamp and feisty guitar licks, “Blessing Me” is a plea for continued blessings in spite of our fumbling and failings. Planting their petition firmly in the here and now, CHurCHicago seeks blessings while driving, “sweeping the floor,” “cooking dinner,” “walking through the grocery store,” and even “taking the kids to school.” Nor is their request selfish—they ask for blessings on ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2019

“Anchored”God’s PosseIndependent (release date: January 30, 2019) By Bob Marovich Acknowledging at the outset that “Anchored” is actually an old song with a new twist, God’s Posse of Chicago proceeds to provide an up-tempo reading of said old song, complete with soft harmonies, a lead-trading vamp, and contemporary arrangement. The metaphoric “Anchored” teaches that, in the midst of life’s storms, it’s best to hitch one’s line to the Lord. The single is yet another reason why God’s Posse is among the city’s top gospel quartets. God’s Posse, itself anchored by the music tutelage of the Windy City Four’s Nelson Larkins, ...

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“Safe” – Ruth La’Ontra

“Safe” Ruth La’Ontra Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Gospel songstress Ruth La’Ontra gushes over the protection available in God’s arms during “Safe,” a boldly arranged worship song that beats with the heart of a modern hymn. Ruth waits for the vamp to let loose with a string of melismatic runs and intense call-and-response with her BGVs. Penned by Anthony Brown (leader of Group TherAPy) and Justin L. Savage, “Safe” debuted on Ruth’s 2017 Tyscot album, I Got You (Live). The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ruth is the daughter of veteran radio announcer Pastor Arvetra Jones Jr. and the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 4, 2019

“He Has Been Good” Bernice Brown Gregory From the EP Faithful (EP release date: July 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bernicebrowngregory By Bob Marovich The opening track of Bernice Brown Gregory’s Faithful, an EP of relaxed contemporary praise songs and a digitally orchestrated version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” is an up-tempo churchy tune called “He Has Been Good.” Evoking the exuberance of the Chicago Mass Choir, Bernice and her background choir raise the roof on this declaration of God’s marvelous work within their lives. It’s Bernice’s first commercial recording since 2008’s God’s Been Good to Me, whose title track is similar in ...

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