Singles

“Trouble Don’t Last Always” – P.U.S.H.

“Trouble Don’t Last Always”P.U.S.H.Independent (release date: January 1, 2020) By Bob Marovich Little did P.U.S.H. know when they released their single “Trouble Don’t Last Always” back in January that the sentiment would be more prophetic than they could have ever anticipated. This female quartet from Alexander City, Alabama, has a simple but effective message: “Turn it over to Jesus.” The troupe renders their simple but effective directive in call-and-response style and set to a customary modern quartet arrangement. Their singing is strong but the harmonies could use the same robust production elements given to the lead singer’s vocals. P.U.S.H. is ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 21, 2020

“I Can’t Give Up” Byron Cage From the AIR / Malaco Music Group CD Isolation www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich It turns out the title of multiple Stellar Awardee Byron Cage’s September 2019 album, Isolation, was prophetic. But on “I Can’t Give Up,” the album’s latest single release, Cage and his background vocalists declare that their present circumstances don’t define them. “I’m built to win,” Cage enthuses, singing on his own behalf as well as on behalf of the listeners. The troupe sets pulpit-honed wisdom such as “I’ve come too far” and “no weapon formed against me shall proper” to an ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 14, 2020

“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” Dr. Henry Jackson From the Hawke Music CD Good to Me (release date: July 24, 2019) https://www.hawkemusicllc.com By Bob Marovich It’s great to hear new recordings from Dr. Henry Jackson, an alumnus of the Los Angeles Community Choir and Cleveland Singers, as well as a group leader, soloist and songwriter in his own right. From his 2019 album Good to Me, Jackson gives Thomas A. Dorsey’s “Precious Lord” a more optimistic bounce while maintaining the dignity of the composition. Over the course of a few key changes and nearly seven minutes, Jackson and a group ...

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“Bow Down” – Christina Bell

“Bow Down” Christina Bell From the Malaco CD For His Glory www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich It’s not easy being the psalm to follow the popular Psalm 23 (“The Lord is My Shepherd”). Nevertheless, Psalm 24 has plenty of wonderful imagery to offer and Christina Bell must agree. The former Z’iel member sets its opening lines to a bracing P&W rhythm on her new single, “Bow Down.” From Bell’s September 2019 debut album for Malaco Music Group, “Bow Down” is the kind of aerobic selection frequently employed today to open worship services. Though Bell’s contralto has plenty of depth and shading, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 7, 2020

“Alright” Bishop Larry Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir From the forthcoming album Restored By Bob Marovich Bishop Larry Trotter and the choir of his Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago’s Southeast side offer encouragement in the full-throated, hand-clapping, church-wrecking style emblematic of the Windy City gospel choir sound. In a sandpaper-rough baritone, Trotter sings about “heartaches and pains,” as the choir answers him with a reassuring “alright, it’s gonna be alright.” But it’s the fiery vocalist Betty Lott who sells the song. She works the audience and duets with Trotter as, with the choir, they interpolate a bit of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 31, 2020

“Happy in Jesus” Exciting Holy Sons From the album Finally Live in Chicago Independent (release date: August 7, 2020) By Bob Marovich If you are a fan of Chicago’s Victory Travelers, you’ll enjoy Chicago’s Exciting Holy Sons. Both groups offer up meaty traditional gospel quartet fare, complete with pulpit-honed messages, squalling lead singers, and the kind of music that lifts congregants to their feet. Even their name hearkens back to when quartets prefaced their names with superlatives, the verbal equivalent of bubble lights on a Wurlitzer jukebox. Sounding very much like the Exciting Holy Sons’ exit song at a gospel ...

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“Joy” – Philip Mercer

“Joy” Philip Mercer Independent (release date: 2020) By Bob Marovich To a bubbly R&B vibe straight out of the 1980s, Philip Mercer’s “Joy” expresses gratitude to the Most High for His salvation and for subsequent blessings with the familiar refrain, “this joy, the world didn’t give it to me.” To hammer home the point, Mercer offers the comforting declaration of Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Exuding the emotion that serves as the song’s title, Mercer’s meaty and malleable tenor voice is what sells the song. Singer-songwriter Philip Mercer is on the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 11, 2020

“Trust and Believe”Mona MooreIndependent (release date: July 2, 2020)Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich Mona Moore’s affecting treatment of the dramatic “Trust and Believe” is what sells the single. From Houston, Texas, Moore reminds the listener that God is a “miracle worker,” so don’t fret: “God will do what he said He will do.” The lyric inspiration comes in part from Psalm 46:10 (“Be still and know that I am God”). Like a veteran vocalist, Moore begins softly, almost whispery, then moves incrementally into shouting evangelist mode as the mood of the song alters. “Trust and Believe” continues building to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 3, 2020

“God’s Power” Minister John Taylor Jr. John Jr. Gospel Productions, Inc. By Bob Marovich Minister John Taylor Jr. recorded this song in 2016, but it sounds as if it was recorded 50 years earlier. “God’s Power” is a reassurance to all those who are sick, especially Taylor’s mother, whose illness inspired Taylor to write the song. The sweet country melody comes from the southern gospel tradition, but Taylor’s expressive vocals and the background singers have gospel quartet stamped all over them. Born in Peoria, Illinois, adopted through Catholic Charities, and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Taylor is the founder of John ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 27, 2020

“Jesus, Let Us Be One” Roscoe Robinson Savoy Records (original release date: March 1983, reissue 2020) By Bob Marovich “Problems all around us, everyone has an answer,” Roscoe Robinson rues. Seeking the true solution, the gospel and soul singing star not only reaches back for the Word, he also reaches back more than three decades into his own song catalog. On “Jesus, Let Us Be One,” originally released on his 1983 Savoy solo album He’s the One, Roscoe prays for unity in His name “and in your love.” Starting out slow and introspective, the song picks up steam courtesy of a ...

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