Traditional Gospel

“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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Soul Don’t Worry: Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967

Various Artists Soul Don’t Worry! Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967 NarroWay Records (release date: September 21, 2018) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Soul Don’t Worry is the most ambitious project to date for NarroWay / Gospel Friend, the Sweden-based gospel reissue operation headed by producer Per Notini. In the past, Notini has focused on chronicling individual artists and labels, but this time he has taken on an entire era’s worth of gospel music. And not just any era, but one of the most significant of the twentieth century: the fight for civil rights in America. Some listeners might ...

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New Evelyn Turrentine-Agee Single Declares “God Gave His Best”

By Bob Marovich Written and produced by her son, Curtis Turrentine Jr., Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s “God Gave His Best” will be released Friday, October 5. It’s the latest single from the Queen of Quartet, whose gospel music career spans several decades. Evelyn told the Journal of Gospel Music that her singing ministry began at the tender age of two. “At two years old, I was singing so much that my dad would take me to church. He’d hold me up in his arms and say, ‘Sing baby!’ My favorite song to sing was ‘Thank You, Jesus.’ People would just shout! At first I thought, ‘What’s the matter with ...

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Prof. Harold Boggs (and Lula Reed): Lord Give Me Strength

Prof. Harold Boggs (and Lula Reed) Lord Give Me Strength: Early Recordings 1952-1964 Gospel Friend Records (release date: September 21, 2018) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Perhaps one reason Professor Harold Boggs is not as well remembered, or as appreciated, as his golden era contemporaries is his penchant for copying their sound. Seemingly bereft of a distinctive style of his own, Boggs, a blind singer, emulated the prevailing sound of gospel music. In other words, listening to Boggs on Per Notini’s superb compilation of the blind singer’s initial recordings is a gospel music history lesson in audio. You hear the influence of the expansive-voiced ...

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