Traditional Gospel

Beverly Crawford – The Essential Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford The Essential Beverly Crawford JDI Records (release date: October 23, 2015) Available at Amazon.com By Bob Marovich The Essential Beverly Crawford is a best-of pulled from her two volume Live from Los Angeles series, released in 2008 and 2010, respectively, with a new song, “Deliverance,” tacked on top. Like Pastor Shirley Caesar, Crawford knows how to work a congregation, interspersing conversational spoken word in the midst of songs or evangelizing before and during her performances. You hear the singer swoop, squall, whoop, scream, and shout with preacher’s breath. She preaches and teaches. She does the holy dance. But she also offers ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 16, 2017

“All God’s Children Ain’t Free” Level One Sound presents the Jones Family Singers www.jonesfamilysingers.com It seemed appropriate, on this remembrance day for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that JGM should spotlight the Jones Family Singers’ newly-released cover of Johnny Cash’s “All God’s Children Ain’t Free.” Bishop Fred Jones Sr. channels Cash’s folksy rumination while daughter Alexis Jones-Giles accentuates the most important lines of the lyric with the vocal force of a human trumpet. The echo-y harmonies and jangly tambourine, when combined with the steady and minimal country beat, evoke Cash’s original from his 1965 Orange Blossom Special (Columbia Records). Recorded at Level One ...

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“When Will It End?” – Dave Bass & the D.B.G.s

“When Will It End?” Dave Bass & the D.B.G.s DNB Associates, Inc. (2013) www.cdbaby.com/cd/davebass2 DC-area gospel soloist Dave Bass recorded “When Will It End?” in 2013 after the death of Trayvon Martin. Since the song’s message, “the way you look can change your fate,” rings just as true four years later, he’s putting it back front and center to call more attention to the need for justice and truth. Bass’s stinging line about Martin, “only seventeen, went for a snack / a brief encounter, never came back,” subconsciously evokes “The Ballad of Emmett Till,” a 1956 recording by Scatman Crothers’ ...

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“Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down” – Shirley Caesar

“Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down” Shirley Caesar From the Greenleaf Gospel Companion Soundtrack, Vol. 1 www.malaco.com Never mind Shirley Caesar the holiday meme sensation. The mighty traditional gospel singer gets down to what she has done effectively for more than sixty years on “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down.” To the intimidating thrum-thrum of marching warrior feet and penetrating harmonies from the choir, Pastor Shirley declares holy war on the Prince of Darkness. This old church song has never lost its ability to rattle the church rafters. The single comes from the Gospel Companion Soundtrack, Volume 1, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 28, 2016

“Let It Be Done” Albert White Overboard Records (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/albertwhiteandavop From the opening moans and the gospel waltz tempo to the blue notes and the opening line, “I know sometimes life gets you down and it seems like there’s trouble all around,” everything about “Let It Be Done” shouts traditional gospel. Then there’s the warbling organ, and the path is set for a sure enough hand-waver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Albert White. The lyric contains a fascinating curveball, though. After hearing White recount everything that might be going wrong, the listener expects him to offer a direct reassurance, something along the lines ...

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The Rance Allen Group – Live from San Francisco

The Rance Allen Group Live from San Francisco Tyscot Records (release date: October 28, 2016) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “I’m loving me some of y’all,” gushed an obviously pleased Bishop Rance Allen to the audience gathered to hear the Rance Allen Group at the Second Annual Charles Reid Gospel Festival in Richmond, California, north of San Francisco. From the response of the audience, the love was mutual. The Bay Area program was recorded live by Tyscot Records and released as Live from San Francisco, the Rance Allen Group’s 25th album and third live project. They return for this live album ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 14, 2016

“Rock Steady” Angela Bennett (2016) Available from digital media outlets An alumna of Houston’s Southeast Inspirational Choir, where she sang under the direction of notables Shirley Joiner, Carl Preacher, and Brenda Waters (the choir also produced Yolanda Adams), Angela Dannett Bennett offers an electrifying performance on “Rock Steady.” Bennett and her background vocalists encourage listeners to be strong and cling to the rock during the storm. She then takes the meteorology metaphor a step further: “Have you any fair weather friends? / When trouble comes, the fellowship ends?” she asks. Don’t worry, she adds: “He will never leave you alone.” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 1, 2016

“In Due Season” Jennifer Myles (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/jennifermyles2 Bronx-born Jennifer Myles and her team of musicians and singers tear it up on her debut single, “In Due Season.” Fueled by a frenetic pace, “In Due Season” is a romping reminder that although we may wait for our breakthrough for what seems like a lifetime, make no mistake: it is on its way. He will. She’s a witness. Now living in Decatur, Georgia, and assisting the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church music ministry, Myles has served as background vocalist for a parade of popular gospel artists. She is now intent on developing her ...

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Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900

Various Artists Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900 Archeophone Records (release date: September 30, 2016) www.archeophone.com By Bob Marovich There is something quite thrilling about hearing voices singing and speaking from more than a century ago. Those crackly, trebly vowels and consonants, like faraway voices over an old telephone, preserved on cylinder and discs like insects in amber, are just as hauntingly fascinating today as they must have been rousing for those who listened to them in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hearing the voices of historic figures on record brings them back to life. Richard Martin and ...

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Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship – What A Legacy

Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship What a Legacy Rev. Clay Evans Heritage Series (2016) By Bob Marovich “Give me my flowers while I am still here,” the Consolers instructed in 1955, “so I can see the beauty that they bring.” What a Legacy, a collection of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir tracks never before released on CD, is one way a legion of friends and fans are giving their flowers to the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, who turned 91 this year: by preserving some of the classic musical moments of Fellowship, aka “The Ship,” the church he founded in ...

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