Traditional Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: September 4, 2018

“He’s Never Failed Me Yet” Saint Mark Sanctuary Choir From The Saint Mark Experience Live (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/saintmarksanctuarychoir By Bob Marovich From the opening strains of “He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” the Sanctuary Choir of Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, is unrelenting in its praise of an unfailing God. Backed by deliciously thick harmonies from the open-throated choir, the lead singer declares that “Momma may fail / Daddy may fail / Sister may fail / Brother may fail / Friend may fail / Pastor may fail,” but God won’t fail. Under the leadership of Darius Nelson, the choir dedicated its album ...

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Dave Bass & the DBGs – All Over the Place

Dave Bass & the DBGs All Over the Place DNB Associates (release date: June 15, 2018) www.davebassgospel.com By Bob Marovich Although Dave Bass led a vocal quartet on 1997’s The Welcome Table, on his 2018 release, All Over the Place, he fronts the DBGs (Dave Bass Group), a musical quartet with the sonic signature of a pub blues-rock band. Bass delivers six straightforward selections on his latest project. The theme of the first three tracks is the importance of holding onto faith as the only way to overcome the difficulties of life (Hebrews 11:1). For example, the title track depicts the ...

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“So Glad” – Lady Voncile Belcher

“So Glad” Lady Voncile Belcher Glory Bound Records (release date: June 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich When Lady Voncile Belcher opens her mouth to sing, you know she has been formed in the crucible of traditional gospel music. On her latest single, “So Glad,” Lady Voncile sings and shouts unbridled exclamations of enthusiasm to a God who has protected her from danger. Her gratitude transitions into praise as the song grinds to a conclusion.  It’s tried and true old school. A longstanding member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Lady Voncile’s first lead vocal on a recording was “Do You ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 7, 2018

“I Owe God a Praise” Jimmy Hicks & ACOJ From the Blacksmoke Music Worldwide album Waterway (release date: August 4, 2017) By Bob Marovich What I like about Jimmy Hicks is how he can transform a church song into what sounds like a big number from a gospel musical. Hicks and his Voices of Integrity did that with 2006’s “Born Blessed” and “This Kind By Fasting and Prayer.” He has done it again with “I Owe God a Praise,” an effervescent hand-clapper featuring call-and-response with the Apostolic Church of Jesus (ACOJ) Choir and Hicks’s favorite singing duet partner, Diana Hicks. The ...

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Various Artists – God’s Got a Blessing (JDI Records 20th Anniversary)

Various Artists God’s Got a Blessing JDI Records (release date: May 18, 2018) By Bob Marovich In 1998, with $7 in his bank account and a load of student loan debt, James Roberson stepped out on faith and started JDI Records (as in Just Do It). He celebrates the company’s 20th anniversary this year with a greatest hits package called God’s Got a Blessing. JDI has been mining its catalog seven ways to Sunday recently, having released The Essential Beverly Crawford Vol. 2 and JDI Classics – Music for All Occasions. God’s Got a Blessing is the best of the three because despite a ...

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“Weather the Storm” – Dorothy Norwood

“Weather the Storm” Dorothy Norwood Dorothy Norwood Music Group (release date: June 4, 2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dorothynorwood5 By Bob Marovich Evangelist Dorothy Norwood goes into classic storyteller mode as she describes how a Houston, Texas, family is rescued from the roof of their home during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. While the recency of the event undoubtedly touched the live audience, Norwood sees the story as more than recent history: it’s a demonstration of God’s assistance “in the nick of time,” and a chance to shout “Hallelujah” for a successful ending. She peppers the song with lyric snippets about miracles, rejoicing, and joy coming in the ...

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Phil Cook – People Are My Drug

Phil Cook People Are My Drug Psychic Hotline / Thirty Tigers (release date: June 1, 2018) www.philcookmusic.com By Bob Marovich Rootsy gospel vibes abound on Phil Cook’s second solo album, People Are My Drug. A native of from Wisconsin now living in Durham, North Carolina, Cook counts among his inspirations such classic gospel artists as the Staple Singers, the Sensational Nightingales, Margaret Allison, Shirley Caesar, and Brother Joe May. It’s evident, too, in the album’s sound, its lyrics, and even in the quartet-like vamp on two tracks (“Steampowered Blues” and “Every Mother’s Son”). “Tide of Life,” which Cook and his ensemble cover, was written by ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2018

“Holy Ghost” Frozene Lott Hayes LotHay Music (2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich You can be certain that a song titled “Holy Ghost” is going to be a church burner, and Frozene Hayes delivers on this promise. Supported by a chugging band and a choir of BGVs, Hayes sings about the exhilaration of salvation like a veteran church soloist. She has that deliciously raspy alto voice that can make “Happy Birthday to You” sound sanctified. She sang a live version of “Holy Ghost” at last month’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards, where it was named Traditional Song of the Year. It brought ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 25, 2018

“Enter His Gates” Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music From the New Day Distribution CD By Faith www.plundymom.com By Bob Marovich Minister Patrick Lundy’s musical instruction in the gospel and classical worlds are in evidence on the robust church rouser “Enter His Gates.” Taking its text from Psalm 100:4, the song features full production, a solid backbeat, and stirring singing that evokes Ricky Dillard’s work. The song belongs as much to the choir as to the single’s fiery lead singers, Beverly Reynolds and Jacqulyn Sanders. The album version transitions into a praise break—‘nuff said! The Georgia-born director and songwriter Lundy honed ...

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Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson – Keep Pushin’

Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson Keep Pushin’ Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: May 4, 2018) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich It’s been 20 years since Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson appeared on the national gospel scene, introducing the traditional quartet sound to a new generation of listeners. He continues his crusade to blend the old school with the new on Keep Pushin’. Though billed as a solo project, Johnson has plenty of help from a battery of singers, including Prathan “Spanky” Williams, Josh Miles, Ray Braswell Jr., and Karen Clark. Together, they traverse musically diverse territory, though most of it remains grounded in tradition—none ...

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