Singles

“Here I Am” – Team David

“Here I Am” Team David From the Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel album Here I Am (August 2014) www.malaco.com Employing Boys II Men harmonies and balladry, the modern gospel group Team David delivers the finger-popping “Here I Am,” a cleverly penned song about turning one’s life over to Jesus. Rather than use the phrases typically used to describe the conversion process, Team David instead employs the metaphor of turning oneself in for a crime committed. After acknowledging that “I am guilty, filthy of sin” and “I did the crime, now I must do the time,” the group asks God to “Sentence me to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 13, 2014

“Hallelujah” Jewell & Converted From the Malaco CD For Real www.malaco.com “Hallelujah” is an up-tempo praiser from St. Louis-based female quartet Jewell & Converted. About a third of the way through, the lead singer gets downright Pentecostal, shouting and squalling about how she wants to “get her praise out,” then performs an extended call-and-response with the rest of the ladies, who maintain steady rhythmic harmonies. The musicians provide the quintessential hip-slapping accompaniment, complete with drum/bass backbeat and organ flourishes. A show stopper. Jewell & Converted organized in 2001 and is comprised of Jewell Taylor, Lydia Jones, Ni’Asia Hatch-Boyd, and Bablen ...

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“God Will” – Kergyma Community Choir

“God Will” Kergyma Community Choir From the album Kergyma: The Proclamation www.kergyma.org Never let it be said that the Kergyma Community Choir doesn’t put on its shouting shoes once in a while. With evocations of the Cosmopolitan Warriors, Ricky Dillard & New G, and JJ Hairston and YP, the choir goes full throttle on “God Will.” Gwendolyn B. Williams, Beatrice Summerville, and Pastor Kevin Bond lead the full-throated choir in reassuring listeners that no matter what the doctor says or what is lacking financially, “God will take care of you.” Brief but impactful. Founded in 2001 by Gwendolyn Busch and Arnold ...

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JGM’s Pick of the Week: October 6, 2014

“The Greater” J. Grant Thompson Available on iTunes and other digital outlets on October 7, 2014 “The Greater” is the debut single from Washington, DC singer, songwriter, producer, and PK J. Grant Thompson. A notable debut it is. It is the gorgeous arrangement that imbues this lyrically and musically uncomplicated P&W anthem with its distinctive character. Thompson establishes an effective call and response with the background vocalists. I can imagine “The Greater” becoming just as popular with praise teams as songs by William McDowell and VaShawn Mitchell.

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“It’s Our Time” – Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise

“It’s Our Time” Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise First Lady Productions (2014) Anointedpraise2011@yahoo.com The ensemble from Jacksonville, Florida, that gave us the flowing, dramatic “I Believe” offers “It’s Our Time,” a tough-talking staccato declaration of war on the devil. “He don’t fight fair, but we ain’t scared,” the group sings, like prayer warriors clad in armor suits preparing for battle. “We’re taking over, ‘cause it’s our time.”  The single is one more example of how Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise deserves a closer look by major labels and gospel radio PDs. Incidentally, “I Believe” is now available as ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 29, 2014

“Alright OK” J Moss PMG Gospel (released May 2014) If Pharrell Williams hit it with “Happy,” the feel good song of 2014, J Moss has the equally peppy “Alright OK.” An acoustic piano introduces a jaunty pop melody as J Moss explains how he focuses on the good and lets the bad roll right off his back. Knowing that God is watching out for him on the sunny as well as the rainy days, he concludes, “I won’t complain even if I could.” Produced by PAJAM, “Alright OK” is the singer’s most engaging single in some time.

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“Take It Easy” – The Soul Messengerz

“Take It Easy” The Soul Messengerz From the 4 Winds Records CD Only The Strong Survive—Live (2014) www.malaco.com Pastor D. B. Coley of the Soul Messengerz tenderly introduces this quartet piece about taking it down a few notches and putting life’s stresses and worries in God’s hands. The soft soul harmonies, major seventh chords, and delicate musicianship wash over the listeners like a spiritual bubble bath. Organized in 2008, the Soul Messengerz of Washington, DC, has as its core members, Pastor Coley, Justin N. Young, Johnny Matthews, Minister Charles A. Young, James Vines, and Gregory Parrish. Their album, Only the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 22, 2014

“Made It Through the Storm” Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir From the Godfather Records album Next Generation Working as both metaphor and a literal celebration of surviving Hurricane Sandy, Pastor David Wright and the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir sing “Made It Through the Storm,” a testament to how they made it through the storm and flood. “This ain’t New Orleans, but we made it through a hurricane, too,” shouts Pastor Wright, as the holy horns of the Seal Breakers, a shout band with roots in the United House of Prayer for All People, give the proceedings ...

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“My Inspiration” – Angela “Missy” Billups

“My Inspiration” Angela “Missy” Billups E’Mazin Entertainment/Missy B. Music (2014) Best known for her churchy traditional songs, Angela “Missy” Billups, accompanied by a background vocal group, delivers a contemporary worship song to express gratitude to God for graces bestowed. She drops a couple of lines of verse from “Total Praise” in the vamp, then concludes, “When I thought was going to lose my mind / God, you stepped in the nick of time.” The song is good and shows that Missy is exploring new territory for her singles, but I much prefer Missy’s traditional side.

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The Journal’s Pick of the Week: September 15, 2014

“The Blood Medley” Kathy Taylor From the forthcoming CD Spirit of a Grateful People www.kathytaylorlive.com A medley of blood songs and the multi-hued voice of Kathy Taylor go together like bacon and eggs. Taylor sings the notes off the staff on this slow burner, which demonstrates the singer’s vibrant interplay with the live audience. She croons, shouts, and squalls to accompaniment that includes a warmly warbling B3 and drum crashes like lightning strikes. Taylor’s interpolation of Andrae Crouch’s “The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power” is a preaching moment. The medley could have gone on even longer. Kathy Taylor currently ...

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