Traditional Gospel

Roberta Martin Singers: 1947-1962

Roberta Martin Singers Didn’t It Rain / Only a Look / The Old Ship of Zion: 1947-1962 Fremeaux & Associes (release date: February 2019) www.fremeaux.com By Bob Marovich Roberta Martin is to today’s enthusiasts of gospel music what writers like James Joyce and Henry James are to today’s enthusiasts of literature: someone whose work is considered the gold standard, but few take the time to explore the wonderment of their artistic creations. Fremeaux & Associes in France has made it easier to indulge in the work of Roberta Martin and her Roberta Martin Singers. Offering 72 tracks and a 24-page ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 4, 2019

“He Has Been Good” Bernice Brown Gregory From the EP Faithful (EP release date: July 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bernicebrowngregory By Bob Marovich The opening track of Bernice Brown Gregory’s Faithful, an EP of relaxed contemporary praise songs and a digitally orchestrated version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” is an up-tempo churchy tune called “He Has Been Good.” Evoking the exuberance of the Chicago Mass Choir, Bernice and her background choir raise the roof on this declaration of God’s marvelous work within their lives. It’s Bernice’s first commercial recording since 2008’s God’s Been Good to Me, whose title track is similar in ...

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Bishop J. D. Means Sr. – If He Bring You to It. . .He’ll Bring You Through It

Bishop J. D. Means Sr. If He Bring You to It. . . He’ll Bring You Through It Mean Means Music Group (release date: October 29, 2018) http://bishopjdmeanssr.com/ By Bob Marovich Bishop J. D. Means Sr.’s CD If He Bring You to It. . .He’ll Bring You Through It is filled to the brim with music, so much so that it feels like two albums in one. Or maybe three, depending on how you look at it. The first half of the album is comprised of newly-composed songs with heaping helpings of old-school soul. Means renders these fundamental songs of ...

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“Turn Right and Go Straight” – Roscoe Robinson

“Turn Right and Go Straight” Roscoe Robinson ABKCO Music & Records (release date: June 29, 2018) By Bob Marovich On the subject of veteran travelers of the gospel highway, Roscoe Robinson has been singing gospel quartet, with a notable side trip as a national soul artist, since the early 1950s. “Turn Right and Go Straight” is Robinson without his recent quartet, the Birmingham Blind Boys, and with a roadhouse band, rocking electric guitar riffs, and righteous background vocalists.  In solid voice, Robinson employs travel directions as a metaphor to help the sinner guide his way to “the pearly gate.” The ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 3, 2018

“Working for My Good” Brandon Mitchell & S.W.A.P. feat. Lisa Knowles-Smith From the BAMSWAP Music album Amazing By Bob Marovich Once again, an AyRon Lewis production makes our list: “Working For My Good,” by Brandon Mitchell & S.W.A.P. (Singers With A Purpose). This selection, rendered in the 12/8 “rocking chair” time signature, belongs as much to the effervescent Lisa Knowles-Smith as to the Mitchell group. Like Dorinda Clark-Cole, Lisa turns the temperature up anytime she is a featured vocalist. She doesn’t just recommend faith in God as the ultimate balm, she demands it. When Mitchell shouts, “Let’s take it to Mississippi,” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 27, 2018

“The Great I Am” Shree Isabell Kamasia Music (release date: September 28, 2018) www.shreeisabell.com By Bob Marovich “The Great I Am” is an explosive new single from Evangelist Shree Isabell, a member of Dr. Bobby Jones’ Nashville Super Choir. Through the retelling of biblical stories about freeing the Israelites and God’s appearance to Moses, Shree and her BGVs offer examples of God as way maker.  Shree’s point is that if God made a way years ago, he will make one for you today. The musicians match Shree’s vocal strength with eight cylinders of their own muscle. Together, the team functions like an engine without ...

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Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter – Bringing It Back Home

Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter Bringing it Back Home GMWA Detroit Chapter (release date: September 1, 2018) By Bob Marovich After listening to Bringing it Back Home, I’d say the Detroit Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) has the best choir of all workshop chapters in existence today. This live album, recorded on the 50th anniversary of GMWA’s founding in Detroit, Michigan, evokes those marvelous chapter choir albums and their Sunday morning-ready songs that were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the home of the modern gospel choir movement is situated in Chicago, Detroit ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 19, 2018

“On Time” Bishop Larry D. Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir From the forthcoming Utopia Music Group CD Restored! By Bob Marovich Bishop Larry Trotter’s Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago’s South Side is doing its part to “bring the choir back” (as if it ever left) with “On Time.” The radio-friendly single contains the fiery, full-voiced, no-nonsense sound that listeners come to expect from the Sweet Holy Spirit Choir. The message of God stepping in “right on time” is timeless, and when combined with the pulsating tempo at which the choir moves, the song should bring everybody to their ...

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Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God – Dream Come Alive

Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God Dream Come Alive Cohen Records Available at digital music outlets By Bob Marovich “Born Again,” the drive-tempo opening selection on Pastor Bobby Cohen & Men of God’s Dream Come Alive, signals that the album is a traditional-leaning project. And it is, though the quartet smooths some of the rough edges to make the music relevant for contemporary audiences. Elder Cohen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Greer, South Carolina, and owner/manager of gospel music radio station WPJM 800 AM, formed the Men of God in 2012. In addition to “Born Again,” Dream Come Alive includes a slow-burner ...

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Long-Awaited Aretha Franklin “Amazing Grace” Documentary Makes World Debut at 2018 DOC NYC

NEW YORK, NY, November 5, 2018 – Amazing Grace, a long-awaited documentary featuring Aretha Franklin’s signature performances at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, will make its world debut at the 2018 DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival. It was announced today that the film will be presented Monday, November 12th at 6:45 pm and 9:00 pm at the SVA Theatre on 333 West 23rd St, NY, NY. Tickets are available at Docnyc.net. The live performances, ranked among Ms. Franklin’s finest, were originally recorded and filmed during a church service in Watts on January 13 and 14, ...

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