Traditional Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: July 6, 2015

“He Touched Me” Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid and the Traditional Gospel Choir www.loudellaevansreid.com If you like that aggressive, churchy gospel choir sound that came straight outta Chicago, false coda and all, you will love “He Touched Me.” This Thurston Frazier chestnut is given a full-throttle reading by the Traditional Gospel Choir, presented by Rev. Bryant Jones and directed by Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid. Both Jones and Reid have plenty of trad cred. Jones is a pastor and the son of gospel singer Jeannette Robinson Jones and the late Rev. Billy Jones. Reid is the longstanding and aerobic directress of the Fellowship Missionary ...

Read More »

Fannie Lou Hamer – Songs My Mother Taught Me

Fannie Lou Hamer Songs My Mother Taught Me Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (release date: June 30, 2015) www.folkways.si.edu By Bob Marovich While it took a recent act of domestic terror for the polarizing Confederate flag to begin coming down throughout the South, let us not forget that much of the way was paved more than a half-century ago by such freedom fighters as Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, who died in 1977 at age 59, is renowned for her leadership in the Civil Rights movement and specifically for her work with the Mississippi Freedom Party. Equally well known, albeit a sidebar to ...

Read More »

The Gospel Angels – I Still Remember

The Gospel Angels I Still Remember Next Level Publishing (2004) www.thegospelangelsdc.com By Bob Marovich I Still Remember has been around for more than a decade—it was released the year the Journal of Gospel Music was born, in fact—but this album by the Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, is worth revisiting because it is emblematic of how much musical fun saving souls can be. First, of the eleven tracks, five are up-tempo selections, more hip-slapping than just about any gospel quartet CD I’ve heard in a long while. One might conclude that the high percentage of “drive tempo” songs is because ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2015

“Something About That Name” Lorraine Stancil Anointed Sounds Records (2015) I’m rather stoked about the recent release of so many traditional-style gospel singles, including this one by Psalmist Lorraine Stancil-Lawson. Product of the Pentecostal church, Psalmist Stancil is known to kick off her shoes just like Shirley Caesar, and on “Something About that Name,” she shouts and squalls like Pastor Caesar in full throes of sanctified passion. Stancil’s call and response with the background vocalists/choir heightens the tension to the point where she emits a couple of dog whistle soprano notes. Also like Caesar, Lorraine Stancil-Lawson has entered the ministry. ...

Read More »

Gospel Memories: Remembering Emanuel AME in Charleston

The June 20, 2015 episode of Gospel Memories on WLUW Chicago includes a long set in memory of the victims and their families, and all the members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Gospel music helps us mourn, helps us heal, helps us remember.  May this kind of tragedy never happen again. Click on the Gospel Memories icon at left to listen to the entire show (the “in memoriam” set begins around 19:25).  JGM’s Bob Marovich is host.

Read More »

Michael Corcoran on Washington Phillips and the “Manzarene”

Historian and journalist Michael Corcoran uncovered a myriad of hitherto unknown facts about Texas pianist and Church of God in Christ member Arizona Dranes.  Those findings were revealed in He Is My Story (Tompkins Square), a resplendent extended essay that accompanied a reissue of Dranes’s 1920s-era recorded material.  Dranes is often cited as gospel music’s first recording artist. By Jove, Michael Corcoran’s done it again, this time for another largely forgotten but no less important Texas musician, Columbia recording artist Washington Phillips. Here is a link to Corcoran’s article from Arts + Labor. http://www.artslabormagazine.com/juneteenth-wash-phillips-son-of-slaves-makes-music-for-the-ages

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: June 15, 2015

“I’ll Stand” Lady Voncile feat. Pastor R. L. Bush http://gloryboundrecords.bigcartel.com To the whirring of an organ and sassy opening licks from a guitar and piano, Lady Voncile Belcher delivers this church-ready solo about faith with flatfooted conviction. She hands the microphone to the Reverend R. L. Bush, who gives the verse a thorough working over in his preacher/quartet leader rasp. Later, they duet while the background vocalists reply antiphonally. If this performance was recorded live, you’d hear the saints in the background, shouting encouragement. The release concert for her latest CD, Phenomenal, on which “I’ll Stand” is included, takes place ...

Read More »

J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2015

“In His Hands” The McDonald Sisters Ra-Ola Music Inc. (release date: April 1, 2015) A family group with more than 30 years of gospel singing experience, the McDonald Sisters of Fayetteville, North Carolina, continue to represent traditional gospel quartet with their new single, “In His Hands.” To an aisle-walking, handclapping tempo propelled by distinctive southern soulfulness, the ladies put their burdens and their deliverance in God’s hands. They instruct listeners to do the same. They know whereof they speak. Members Valerie, Deborah, Evelyn, Pamela, and matriarch Priscilla have survived cancer, a stroke, and a ruptured appendix, among other challenges. The ...

Read More »