Traditional Gospel

Sit In, Stand Up and Sing Out!: Black Gospel Music and the Civil Rights Movement

By Bob Marovich Michael Castellini made ample use of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University, and the counsel of gospel music historian Professor Robert Darden, to write his Master’s thesis on gospel music and the civil rights movement. In “Sit In, Stand Up and Sing Out!: Black Gospel Music and the Civil Rights Movement,” Castellini argues that many components of the African American church and  church community, in addition to black sacred music, helped fuel the flames of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The thesis is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read, providing a great ...

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Jones Family Singers to Share the Gospel at Chicago’s Mayne Stage

By Bob Marovich Rolling Stone and NPR called the Jones Family Singers, a gospel group from Bay City, Texas, one of 25 “must see” acts at SXSW [South By Southwest]. Filmmaker Alan Berg is working on a documentary about the family. They may be up for a GRAMMY for their latest CD, The Spirit Speaks, which received the Journal of Gospel Music‘s highest rating, five stars, upon its release in 2013. Given the wave of national publicity and the group’s accessible and soul satisfying presentation, I predict the Jones Family Singers will be embraced by the same multicultural American roots music community ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2014

“I Need Thee” Beulah Grove Mass Choir feat. Monica Lisa Stevenson Released digitally October 21, 2014 www.beulahgrove.org Beulah Grove Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia (Dr. Sam Davis, Pastor), celebrates its centennial with a rousing gospel version of the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” rendered with spirit by the always effervescent Monica Lisa Stevenson. The choir and musicians set a praise party atmosphere as MLS ups the trad cred an extra notch by interpolating lyrics from “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.” “I Need Thee” is the single from the church’s Live at the Grove CD.

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 13, 2014

“Hallelujah” Jewell & Converted From the Malaco CD For Real www.malaco.com “Hallelujah” is an up-tempo praiser from St. Louis-based female quartet Jewell & Converted. About a third of the way through, the lead singer gets downright Pentecostal, shouting and squalling about how she wants to “get her praise out,” then performs an extended call-and-response with the rest of the ladies, who maintain steady rhythmic harmonies. The musicians provide the quintessential hip-slapping accompaniment, complete with drum/bass backbeat and organ flourishes. A show stopper. Jewell & Converted organized in 2001 and is comprised of Jewell Taylor, Lydia Jones, Ni’Asia Hatch-Boyd, and Bablen ...

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“God Will” – Kergyma Community Choir

“God Will” Kergyma Community Choir From the album Kergyma: The Proclamation www.kergyma.org Never let it be said that the Kergyma Community Choir doesn’t put on its shouting shoes once in a while. With evocations of the Cosmopolitan Warriors, Ricky Dillard & New G, and JJ Hairston and YP, the choir goes full throttle on “God Will.” Gwendolyn B. Williams, Beatrice Summerville, and Pastor Kevin Bond lead the full-throated choir in reassuring listeners that no matter what the doctor says or what is lacking financially, “God will take care of you.” Brief but impactful. Founded in 2001 by Gwendolyn Busch and Arnold ...

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Coming April 2015: A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music

Journal of Gospel Music Editor-in-Chief Bob Marovich has written the definitive history of gospel music from Chicago, the genre’s birthplace.  Available from the University of Illinois Press starting in April 2015. Read more here: UI Press | Robert Marovich | A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music.

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Minister C.L. Johnson – Favor

Minister C.L. Johnson Favor Doowgam Records (2011) http://wreg.weebly.com/index.html By Bob Marovich Given Minister Craig L. Johnson’s career as a member of several gospel quartets, most notably the Pilgrim Wonders of Toledo, the Revelations of Cincinnati and, most recently, his reformation of the Flint Cavaliers, it’s not surprising his solo album, Favor, sounds more like a quartet album. Johnson’s background vocalists are male and female, but they support him like a male quartet. Favor’s strongest selection is “Havin’ Church,” a clever song that is also the title track of the Flint Cavaliers 2013 album for Low Rush/Grammercy. Here, Johnson joins forces with ...

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A Homegoing Fit for Bro. Nash Shaffer Jr.

By Bob Marovich Bro. Nash Shaffer’s friends and loved ones said he needed no special invitation to sit in the front row of a gospel musical or service. He would proceed to the front of the church, choose his seat, and sit down. In his later years, Bro. Nash moved down the aisle more slowly—walking “like Alfred Hitchcock,” quipped Milas Armour—but he made it to the front because that’s where he belonged. That’s what those who paid tribute to gospel musician and historian Nash Shaffer Jr. said about their friend at his homegoing musical and appreciation service yesterday. Nash was ...

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