Traditional Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: May 21, 2018

“Keys to the Kingdom” Min. David Whitfield & Whitfield Productions, feat. Lena Starks Choirboi Records (release date: March 16, 2018) By Bob Marovich On this church rouser, Angelique “Lena” Starks, a sparkplug of a lead vocalist, breaks it down: you don’t have to be rich, or a doctor or lawyer, or even a warrior, to make it to Heaven. Just “be holy, be righteous,” she sings. Known to enjoy singing to a quick tempo, Starks gets downright evangelistic on the vamp as the choir supports her with lyric responses and handclaps. Min. David Whitfield & Whitfield Productions carries on the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 14, 2018

“I’m Determined” Bemeche’ BGMN Records (release date: April 9, 2018) www.bemeche.com By Bob Marovich This Virginia-based artist teams up with a top-shelf choir and musicians who together sound as if they came straight outta Chicago’s Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer on “I’m Determined.” A churchy up-tempo workout with jaunty piano work complements Bemeche’s conviction to run on to see what the end will be. He engages the choir in antiphonal singing and sets up a special section where sopranos, altos, and tenors layer their harmonies onto the main melody one at a time. Then the musicians drop out for a straight-up vamp. ...

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Kendrick Evans – Live Therapy Session

Kendrick Evans Live Therapy Session Rock the Cause Records (release date: September 29, 2017) By Bob Marovich Appearing on the CW docu-drama My Last Days, award-winning gospel singer Kendrick Evans of Quincy, Florida, opened up about his acute sleep apnea that doctors said would give him about three more years to live. Eschewing the surgery that would probably have ruined his voice, Evans chose to find other remedies so he could sing. And sing he does. Evans uses his Live Therapy Session as a musical variant of the mental health counseling the title suggests. He puts all of his stuff out ...

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The Essential Beverly Crawford, Volume 2

Beverly Crawford The Essential – Vol. 2 JDI Records (release date: February 2, 2018) By Bob Marovich Gainesville, Florida, gospel singer Beverly Crawford is a steadfast traditionalist, and God bless her for it. She is among the most popular of those singers who perpetuate the audience-rousing squalling and shouting characteristic of old time evangelism, and who still sings songs packed with church aphorisms and mother wit. As was the case with the first volume of The Essential Beverly Crawford (2005), neither “It’s About Time for a Miracle” nor “Sweeping Through the City” are included on The Essential – Volume 2, despite ...

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The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down

The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Put Together Music (release date: February 16, 2018) www.shawnamos.com By Bob Marovich The Reverend Shawn Amos might just be the most righteous preacher who’s not a preacher. Amos, whose mother was nightclub singer Shirl-ee May and whose father was a William Morris Agency executive and founder of Famous Amos cookies, is not a licensed ordained minister. Nevertheless, he uses his platform to speak truth to power, and pulls on a lifetime spent in the music business to accentuate the urgency of his message with fistfuls of biting blues guitar and harmonica. “21st Century Freedom ...

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Yvonne Staples of the Staple Singers Passes Away

By Bob Marovich Bill Carpenter, co-founder of Capital Entertainment in Washington, DC, and a longtime friend of and spokesperson for the Staples Family, informed JGM of the passing of Yvonne Staples. She died at her home in Chicago today, Tuesday, April 10, at age 80. Born in Chicago on October 23, 1937, Yvonne was initially a reluctant singer. She didn’t join her family’s group until some years after its founding. While not a lead singer, Yvonne’s baritone contributed greatly to the Staples’ distinctive harmonies. She is present for the Staple Singers’ late 1950s selections on Vee Jay Records, their songs of social significance for ...

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Paul Thorn – Don’t Let the Devil Ride

Paul Thorn Don’t Let the Devil Ride Perpetual Obscurity Records (release date:  March 23, 2018) www.paulthorn.com By Bob Marovich Paul Thorn’s Don’t Let the Devil Ride hits the Americana music jackpot. With the Blind Boys of Alabama and the McCrary Sisters as guest vocalists, the Preservation Hall Horns among the musicians, and Rick Hall’s Fame and Sam Phillips’ studios as well as Preservation Hall providing recording mojo, Thorn could have performed “Happy Birthday to You” and it would have sounded smothered in tangy barbeque sauce. But Thorn taps his sacred roots (his father was a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 19, 2018

“Prayer Room” Jarell Smalls & Co. From the CD A New Season Southern Wave Music Group / Get Ready Music Group (release date: May 19, 2017) http://jarellsmalls.com/ By Bob Marovich By evoking Grandma at the outset, Jarell Smalls gives the appropriate old-school pedigree to “Prayer Room.” Then, to a rockabilly-guitar-meets-Pentecostal-beat, he and his group jump into the congregational classic, “Come in the Prayer Room.” The Charleston, South Carolina-born Smalls scats, vamps, chants, and shouts like a quartet singer. With about two minutes remaining on the recording, the Company moves from the back to the front. The singers shift the melody, but ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 22, 2018

“Church Medley II” Syreeta Thompson Trumpetlady From the CD Evolution of a Winner (release date: September 15, 2017) www.trumpetlady.com By Bob Marovich At one time, brass instruments in the service of God were found only in Pentecostal and Spiritual churches and, of course, in the famed shout bands of the United House of Prayer for All People. But times have changed and trumpets, saxophones, and all sorts of instruments are welcome at nearly every type of church. Still, there are few female brass players in gospel music. Syreeta Thompson is one. The Grammy Award-winning, Billboard-charting and Stellar Award-nominated Thompson pays homage to ...

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Dr. Timothy D. Poston – Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live”

Dr. Timothy D. Poston Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” Jeremiah Praze Records (2007) By Bob Marovich Bay Area music minister and organist Dr. Timothy D. Poston’s Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” may be several years old but, like the hymns he presents and the instrument he plays them on, it’s ageless. Even those only tangentially familiar with church hymnody will know the names of most, if not all, of the fourteen or so selections on the album. “Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee.” “How Great Thou Art.” “Pass Me Not.” “Precious Memories.” “The Old Rugged Cross.” Many ...

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