Traditional Gospel

Reverend John Lee Hooker Jr. – Testify

Reverend John Lee Hooker Jr. Testify Steppin’ Stone Records (release date: February 14, 2020) By Bob Marovich “From the blues to the good news,” declares the Reverend John Lee Hooker Jr.’s website, though listening to his new album, Testify, blues has not left the building entirely. It’s just backing up lyrics of encouragement and warning instead of “Extramarital Affair” and “Pay the Rent.” Son of the legendary bluesman John Lee “Boogie Man” Hooker, Reverend John Lee Jr. received Grammy nominations for his blues albums. But a life of imprisonment, addiction, and having been being shot and stabbed forced him to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 20, 2020

“I’ll Never Stop Praising the Lord”Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording ChoirEnon Music Group (single release date: November 15, 2019) By Bob Marovich With “I’ll Never Stop Praising the Lord,” the Northern Delaware Chapter Recording Choir of the Gospel Music Workshop of America continues to eke every utility from its 2016 album God Be Glorified. Whether intentional or not, Aurelius Palmer’s rollicking composition evokes Ricky Dillard and New G’s 1991 smash “More Abundantly” in its relentlessly optimistic tempo, its cascading choral parts, and its use of the phrase “He gave me life more abundantly.” The full-throated thunderous praise of the choir ...

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“Jesus Will Fix It” – James Cutts feat. Floyd Mayweather Sr.

“Jesus Will Fix It” (remix) James Cutts feat. Floyd Mayweather Sr. Fight the Good Fight (release date: fall 2019) By Bob Marovich Not every gospel artist can claim to have a world-class boxer in his corner (see what I did there), but James Cutts can. Together, Cutts and Floyd Mayweather Sr., former welterweight boxer who loves gospel music, deliver a quartet-fired remix of their 2017 single, “Jesus Will Fix It.” Mayweather employs up-against-the-ropes fight metaphors to illustrate how Jesus can make a way out of no way. So “don’t quit—no matter how hard it gets.” Throughout, the two trade off ...

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TIME LIFE to Release Streaming-Only Audio Album from Chicago TV Series “Jubilee Showcase”

From a press release: TIME LIFE WILL RELEASE AUDIO PERFORMANCES FROM THE EMMY® AWARD WINNING GOSPEL TV SERIES “JUBILEE SHOWCASE” AS A STREAMING-ONLY ALBUM FEATURING RAW PERFORMANCES BY ICONIC GOSPEL ACTS SUCH AS ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAMERS THE STAPLE SINGERS & THE SOUL STIRRERS, AND MORE! TIME LIFE will release Jubilee Showcase, 36 raw, live performances – before a studio audience – from the Emmy® Award winning  TV concert series, Jubilee Showcase, as a streaming-only album on January 17, 2020 – MLK Weekend. It will stream globally on more than 300 digital service providers, such as Apple Music ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 31, 2019

“He Never Failed Me Yet” Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir From The Greater Harvest Experience, Vol. 1: Broadcast Edition (release date: October 29, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnellnicholasthegreaterharve By Bob Marovich For decades, Chicago’s Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church has had a touch of Pentecostalism in its worship and music. Though the church hasn’t recorded in quite some time, its Sanctuary Choir recently released an eight-track live project, two years in the making, called the Greater Harvest Experience. The album captures the Bapticostal feel of the church’s worship services. The album includes “He Never Failed Me Yet,” a full-bodied choral workout ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 11, 2019

“Leave It Alone” Alvin Darling From the Emtro Gospel CD Leave It Alone (release date: September 20, 2019) By Bob Marovich From singer, songwriter, pastor, and Stellar and Dove Award nominee Alvin Darling comes “Leave It Alone,” a quartet-flavored roof-raiser. The verses string together familiar church aphorisms while the chorus sums it up: “God can fix it better than you can.” An agreeable lead vocal with ample support from background vocalists and musicians evoke Darling’s zesty 2003 album, Waiting Right Here. His foundation in quartet and Pentecostal music is evident throughout the single, which is short and simple but effective.

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Various Artists – No Other Love

Various Artists No Other Love: Midwest Gospel 1965-1978 Tompkins Square (release date: November 8, 2019) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Its playlist culled from the seemingly-limitless catalog of indie artists and labels, Tompkins Square’s various artists collection No Other Love is full of honest, unbridled soulfulness. There is no large record company smoothing out the rough edges for commercial viability. Unlike the top gospel stars of the day who sustained their ministries by singing full-time, the artists on No Other Love typically limited their appearances to weekends because they had day jobs (that included the pastors). They appeared on local programs, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 4, 2019

“Saved” April Hall Enon Music Group (release date: March 27, 2019) By Bob Marovich The featured soloist on Damon Little’s 2016 Billboard-charting “I Won’t Be Defeated,” April Hall returns with her own single, “Saved.” This new take on a traditional song finds Hall singing with austerity while the musicians and background vocalists move at double time. Halfway through, she drops the austerity and begins to deliver her trademark church-wrecking shouts, growls, and whoos, learned from a lifetime of listening to gospel quartets in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. By the end, you can imagine her engaging in a holy dance. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2019

“I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice” Marcel McManus Sr. Independent (release date: September 4, 2018) By Bob Marovich Sometimes you just need to hear gospel done the old fashioned way, like they used to do in church: solo voice and piano. A young man with an old soul, Marcel McManus Sr. accompanies himself on piano on a cover of Harrison Johnson’s testimonial, “I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice.” The singer takes what was originally arranged for choir and turns it into a solo spotlight, offering up a host of vocal flowers and frills while staying true to the ...

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