Traditional Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: November 14, 2017

“Sweet Beulah Land” Eddie Ruth Bradford (release date: September 25, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/eddieruthbradford3 By Bob Marovich The gospel songbird of Clarksdale, Mississippi, is at it again, this time with a mournful hymn about the eternal home. Backed by minimal instrumentation and the producer’s voice multi-tracked to simulate a male quartet (and a good one, too), “Sweet Beulah Land” finds Eddie Ruth Bradford singing longingly about that place “across the river” where there will be no more goodbyes or sadness. The lonely, weary melody and ERB’s bluesy vocals express the fatigue of the soul living in an unforgiving earth, but the lyrics look ...

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“Just Fine” – Mama Sheila feat. Bryan Andrew Wilson

“Just Fine” Mama Sheila feat. Bryan Andrew Wilson Bryan’s Songs Records (2017) By Bob Marovich To a traditional gospel melody, a kick drum backbeat, and featuring preacher-style prompting from her son Bryan Andrew Wilson, Sheila Davis Wilson, as “Mama Sheila,” strings together familiar church sayings as her testimony about getting through a life with its ups and downs, including cancer “having its way with me.” A congregation of background vocalists serve as the response to her call about the goodness of King Jesus smoothing the rough ways. Sheila grew up in a gospel singing family, so traditional gospel is in her DNA.  ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 2, 2017

“Even Then” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir From the Shanachie / SRT CD The Favor of God www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Man plans and God laughs, the saying goes. “Even Then,” the latest single from Reverend Barnes’ 2016 CD, The Favor of God, is about man trying to understand God’s plan for his life, especially during the challenging moments. In this case, Barnes thinks he knows his destiny but questions God’s thinking when it goes awry. Like the famous “Footprints” poem, Barnes realizes that God was there all the time, carrying him through the darkest hours ...

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Marvin Williams – Gospel Sing Night

Marvin Williams Gospel Sing Night Independent Release 2016 https://form.jotform.us/marvinwilliams/shop-with-marvin-williams- By Bob Marovich Gospel Sing Night, a combination CD and DVD offering from Arkansas-based pianist and singer Marvin Williams, contains the same zestful singing of traditional gospel songs and church hymns that the late Bishop G. E. Patterson presented in 2005 and 2006 in his two-volume Singing the Old Time Way. One difference between Patterson’s and Williams’s projects: instead of simply offering a congregational singalong, Williams talks about the components of an old fashioned worship service as he presents songs associated with each part. Including everything but the offering and altar call, Williams’s narrative, singing, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 25, 2017

“Enter In” Chrystal Rucker HBK Media (2017) By Bob Marovich Chrystal Rucker is one of the finest voices in gospel music today. Her vocal talent is on ample display on “Enter In,” the follow up to her Top 30 single, “Excuse Me.” The finer of the two singles, “Enter In” is a prayerful, uncomplicated worship ballad that allows Rucker sufficient space to improvise. Supported by powerful background voices, she builds from soft to sanctified, tossing in growls, shouts, and skyrocketing flights of soprano to convince the saved and sinner alike that when we come to the end of ourselves, when we can ...

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Jubilee Showcase Now Available on Vimeo on Demand

Chicago—September 12, 2017— Every Sunday morning from 1963 until 1984, Chicago gospel music lovers watched Jubilee Showcase for the inspiring and soul-stirring performances by nationally known artists and local favorites, including the Staple Singers, Andrae Crouch, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, the Soul Stirrers, Albertina Walker, the Caravans, Jessy Dixon, the Barrett Sisters, Vernon Oliver Price and the Norfleet Brothers. Choral groups such as George Mays and Voices of Praise, the Wooten Choral Ensemble as well as the Institutional Church of God in Christ Radio Choir from Brooklyn, NY, were also regularly featured on the program. Episodes of this classic gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2017

“I Thank You Lord” Terri McConnell Royal T Records (release date: August 29, 2017) www.terrimcconnell.com By Bob Marovich From its southern-fried funky beat to Terri McConnell’s wizened alto, “I Thank You Lord” is as traditional and delicious as sweet tea. McConnell gushes with gratitude to God for creating a path for her, but her blessings are not over yet. Quoting 1 Corinthians 2:9, she sings that “eyes have not seen nor ears heard” what God has in store for her. When she moves into “makes me wanna moan sometimes,” she has us. A two-time Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, Terri ...

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“Nobody But You” – Chaddrick Wood feat. Lowell Pye

“Nobody But You” Chaddrick Wood feat. Lowell Pye Rebirth Soul Entertainment (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/chaddrickwood By Bob Marovich The husky-voiced Lowell Pye, formerly of Men of Standard, is an ideal duet partner for the equally throaty Chaddrick Wood. On Wood’s single, “Nobody But You,” the two men argue against DIY as a way to solve one’s problems. It only causes stress. Instead, call on Jesus. He’ll relieve your burdens, fix your problems on the job, and heal you. No stress. To a Williams Brothers-esque funky, loping accompaniment, the duo weave improvisational vocal lines and interjections until they conclude with a hymn-like delicacy. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 1, 2017

“It Pays to Serve Jesus” Lady LaVarnga Hubbard Utopia Music Group (2017) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich No matter how many vocalists travel down the P&W path, you can count on Lady LaVarnga Hubbard, the Duchess of Gospel, to keep delivering church rousers the old-school way. “It Pays to Serve Jesus” is the latest single (and the third) pulled from Hubbard’s album, Better Is Coming, released on Bishop Larry Trotter’s Utopia Music Group. True to form, the Duchess glides along the backbeat, inviting listeners to sidestep the static and remember that following Christ is the route to solving ...

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Jeanette Jones – Dreams All Come True

Jeanette Jones Dreams All Come True Playback Records (release date: May 19, 2017) www.playbackrecords.net By Bob Marovich The title of Playback’s compilation of every known secular and sacred solo recording by San Francisco singer Jeanette Jones is deliberately ironic. All the more so in that Jones’ beautifully-sung ballad, “Dreams All Come True,” which gives the album its title, was recorded in 1968 but did not see the light of day until 2000. As Alec Palao’s well-crafted and sympathetic essay for this compilation suggests, whatever career aspirations the comely alto may have had seemed never to materialize, despite her obvious vocal talent. So one released pop single ...

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