Singles

“He’ll Understand” – Joyce Barrett

“He’ll Understand” Joyce Barrett Sharper Brothers (2016) www.sharpradiogospelsuperfest.com Joyce Barrett of Houston, Texas, does some fine old-school singing on “He’ll Understand,” which on the CD single is credited to other writers, but presumably for the arrangement—the song is properly attributed to longtime National Baptist Convention music department leader Lucie Eddie Campbell, who wrote it in 1933. Backed by a pumping band and a gospel quartet (with Roy Reed as executive producer of the single, could the BGVs be labelmates the Zion Jubilees?), Barrett gives the song an uptempo, quartet style treatment. She repeats the “Oh, when I come to the end ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 14, 2016

“Order My Steps” The Gospel Sensations From the MCI Music Group album Everybody www.thegospelsensations.com A beautiful a cappella rendition of the GMWA Women of Worship’s choral classic from 1994, featuring that rarest of articles in gospel quartet singing today: a bass vocal, and an excellent one at that. Finger popping provides the rhythm while the harmony serves as a solid foundation for the lead singer. Reminiscent of early Boyz II Men. Organized by Robert C. Marion Jr. as a way to pay tribute to the artists of yesteryear and today, the Gospel Sensations of Greensboro, North Carolina, sing gospel songs ...

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“Clap Your Hands” – Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir

“Clap Your Hands” Pastor David Wright & The New York Fellowship Mass Choir (Next Generation) Godfather Records (2016) www.godfathergospel.com Pastor David Wright, son of the late Rev. Timothy Wright, leads the New York Fellowship Mass Choir on its latest single, a reworking of the Alex Bradford classic, “I Don’t Care What the World May Do.” The ensemble focuses its attention on the song’s “I come to clap my hands, I come to stomp my feet,” lyrics as the church-wrecking tempo makes it impossible not to clap and stomp along. The choir’s raucous exuberance is met by lead singer Tiffany Woodside’s ...

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“Serve” – The Divine Souls

“Serve” The Divine Souls MCI Music Group Radio servicing: Darrell Jay Jones (darrell@darrelljayjones.com) The message on “Serve” is uncomplicated and well-trodden—the Divine Souls are so grateful for God’s unchanging hands that they are 100 percent committed to serving Him. It’s the soulful vocalizing, especially by the lead singer, Michael Bembo, which sells the single.  The song’s long drawl of an arrangement, the perpetually warbling organ, and the quartet’s dropping to a whisper by the conclusion, evoke the traditional gospel soul style of artists such as the Gospel Four and the Pilgrim Jubilees. From El Paso, Texas, the Divine Souls were ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 7, 2016

“In the Hands of the Carpenter” Paula and Angie Lamon Records www.paulaandangiemusic.com With bluesier guitar licks, a funky rhythm, and a more soulful choir of BGVs than you typically hear in mainstream gospel, Paula and Angie’s “In the Hands of the Carpenter” calls on the Heavenly Carpenter to “tear down the walls in our heart” and fix us good: “Let Him change you, rearrange you, do what He wants to do.” “I’m a real fixer-upper,” the mother-daughter duo sings, and the construction analogies keep going from there. Refreshingly old-school in a Muscle Shoals sort of way. Paula Greene and Angie ...

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Kalind Haynes – “One Angel Short”

Kalind Haynes “One Angel Short” www.cdbaby.com/artist/KalindHaynes At six foot, eight inches tall, Kalind Haynes of south suburban Chicago stands out physically. He also stands out vocally. An alumnus of BET Sunday Best, where he made it to the top ten in 2009, Haynes was praised by Tina Campbell of Mary Mary for his clean and smooth delivery. On “One Angel Short,” Haynes delivers Donald Smith’s pop-inspirational love ballad in that clean and smooth delivery, a silky touch reminiscent of Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson. The song’s premise? To quote Tavares: Heaven must be missing an angel: she is here on earth, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 1, 2016

“More Than a Friend” Deon Robertson From the forthcoming CD Simply Deon www.deonrobertson.com Introduced by a self-assuredly chirping organ, Deon Robertson’s churchy “More Than a Friend” is a bluesy gospel outing that riffs on Jesus’s many life-giving characteristics. Receiving strong support from a choir of treble voices, Robertson improvises by launching melismatic runs, moaning, shouting, and foisting glissandos up and down the stave. As far as the song’s meaning, that is best heard coming from Robertson himself: “My new single, ‘More Than A Friend,’ was written by James Reed and became a true testament to my life when I was ...

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“Let It All Go” – Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts

“Let It All Go” Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts 7th Chapter Music (2015) http://afaulkner.com/ Like a gentler James Fortune, internationally-renowned singer Anthony Faulkner introduces his new single, “Let It All Go,” with a spoken admonition to let go your cares and cast them on God during times of trouble. From there, he joins L. A. Mass Choir alumna and Kurt Carr Singer Nikki Potts on an extended sung improvisation on the theme. Potts’s extroverted singing, which takes zero-to-sixty flights into a higher register during the song’s apex, contrasts well with Faulkner’s smooth, even delivery and the straightforward flow of the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 15, 2016

“Breakthrough” Bonita Burney Simmons (released October 19, 2015) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com Bonita Burney Simmons infuses her single, “Breakthrough,” with a toolkit of traditional church soloist techniques. Melismatic runs, soulful top notes, and lyric attacks a la Jennifer Hudson–all in the service of encouraging listeners to stay faithful, because their own breakthroughs are on the way. Born in Connecticut and raised in North Carolina, Simmons has been a singer since preschool. She entered the ministry in 2000 and serves as Co-Pastor and Outreach Coordinator of the Family Worship Church, “Ministry of Restoration,” in Kinston, North Carolina, where George E. Fields Jr. is pastor. A ...

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“My All and All” – Derrell Thomas

“My All and All” Derrell Thomas Full Circle Records www.fullcirclerecords.us Commencing with a compelling piano intro that resonates with Elton John’s deftness for encircling a melody with bright and shiny musical jewels, Derrell Thomas’s “My All and All” offers a melody and chorus that combine to be one heck of an earworm. Lyrically, the single gushes with simple statements of praise to the Lord. The Lord is not just a friend, Thomas sings, but “the very air that I breathe…my everything.” There’s not much to it, but the song works largely because of that relentless earworm melody. Born in Florida, Derrell Thomas ...

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