Singles

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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“Just For Me” – Monica Lisa Stevenson

“Just For Me” Monica Lisa Stevenson Puretonez Productions (2014) www.monicazmuzik.com With Kenneth Mosley’s “Just For Me,” neo-traditional singer Monica Lisa Stevenson delivers a gospel blues that not only extols Jesus’ sacrifice for His people, but provides a song suitable for the coming Christmas season. The organ chirps and horns blast as MLS declares, “He was born to die so that I may live” and “God chose a virgin to birth out his plan / To restore relationship to every sinful man.” During what blues people might call the “low down” portion but gospel folks call the “vamp,” MLS shouts and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 8, 2014

“Mighty God” Valerie Woodard (2014) www.valeriewoodard.com Melding an ‘80s R&B musical background to a decidedly contemporary melody, much like the Clark Sisters who she cites as an inspiration, Valerie Rogers Woodard expresses her admiration for God with an infectious, shoulder-shaking rhythm. The wordless interjection in the chorus is guaranteed to get audiences singing and dancing along with her. The song is based on Psalm 150, so that is appropriate. The singer-songwriter lives in Wilson, North Carolina, and is currently preparing her sophomore project, Relationship II: Closer.

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TBGB Pick of the Week: September 1, 2014

“Deep Down” Kendra Smith From the DeVine Records Management CD Something New (2014) www.kendrasmith.org Independent artists fuel the future of gospel music. Without their hunger and desire to be heard, the genre would be in perpetual danger of stagnating. Proof positive: seventeen-year-old Kendra Smith of Florence, South Carolina. The 2012 South Carolina Music Awards Gospel Artist of the Year and Rhythm of Gospel Award nominee, indie artist Smith is a young woman with a commanding voice and confident presence. Her new single, “Deep Down,” has an old soul but a modern beat.  Smith has the love of Jesus “way down, deep down ...

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“Everything Must Change” – Dottie Peoples

“Everything Must Change” Dottie Peoples DP Musik Group (2014) www.dottiepeoples.com “Everything Must Change” is Dottie Peoples like you are not used to hearing her. Dottie doffs the traditional pulse for which she is so well known and goes Nina Simone on this slow inspirational ballad about that which is inevitable. Indeed, Simone recorded the song in the 1970s, although the original was waxed by Quincy Jones, featuring the song’s composer, Benard Ighner, on vocals. Dottie does a fine job with this contemplative song.  She transitions from jazzy chanteuse to fiery evangelist when, later in the performance, she uses the lyric, ...

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“More of You” – Canton Jones feat. Darlene McCoy

“More of You” Canton Jones feat. Darlene McCoy From the CD God City USA (2014) Cajo Records By Libra Boyd, Guest Reviewer Gospel Music Fever In one of several collaborations from his newest release, God City USA, singer/writer/producer Canton Jones teams up with songstress and radio personality Darlene McCoy for a moderately-paced Christian hip-hop performance of “More of You.” McCoy kicks off the track’s opening verse with a melodic declaration of adoration and submission before sharing the mic with Jones for a harmonic duet of the chorus: “Just give me all of You and none of me, Lord / Let Your kingdom ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 25, 2014

“A Lil’ Louder (Clap Your Hands)” Rance Allen Group Tyscot Records (2014) www.tyscot.com A gospel trio that was blurring the barriers between the music of Saturday night and Sunday morning in the late 1960s, the Rance Allen Group returns to the funky style that brought them national attention with “A Lil’ Louder (Clap Your Hands).” From the thudding bass line to Rance’s trademark shouts of spiritual ecstasy and sanctified scatting, the song encourages every listener to get on up and worship. Dance, clap your hands, stomp your feet, raise your voice, and scream, sing the group, all to punctuation from the ...

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“When the Church Begins to Pray” – Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams

“When the Church Begins to Pray” Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams From the Dorothy Norwood Music Group CD An Incredible Journey (2014) Recorded live at Reid Temple AME Church in Washington, DC, “When the Church Begins to Pray” is a paean to the power of congregational prayer. Starting in spoken word mode, Dorothy “The Storyteller” Norwood defines the premise while a contemporary choir coos behind her.  After Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers joins in, the song becomes a shout fest between the two soloists.  The best part of the song is hearing two gospel veterans duetting.

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