Traditional Gospel

“Just For Me” – Monica Lisa Stevenson

“Just For Me” Monica Lisa Stevenson Puretonez Productions (2014) www.monicazmuzik.com With Kenneth Mosley’s “Just For Me,” neo-traditional singer Monica Lisa Stevenson delivers a gospel blues that not only extols Jesus’ sacrifice for His people, but provides a song suitable for the coming Christmas season. The organ chirps and horns blast as MLS declares, “He was born to die so that I may live” and “God chose a virgin to birth out his plan / To restore relationship to every sinful man.” During what blues people might call the “low down” portion but gospel folks call the “vamp,” MLS shouts and ...

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The Soul of Designer Records

Various Artists The Soul of Designer Records Big Legal Mess (2014) www.biglegalmessrecords.com By Bob Marovich In the days before YouTube and other social media outlets, before mp3s and CDs and music maker software for home computers, gospel artists looking for greater promotion but without a major label deal sought out the expertise of bootstrap entrepreneurs such as Idessa Malone and Style Wooten. While Malone recorded church choirs and radio preachers, Wooten recorded hundreds of black and white gospel artists for his Designer imprint. Wooten’s pitch was simple: for a flat rate, artists could make a studio recording and have copies of ...

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“Everything Must Change” – Dottie Peoples

“Everything Must Change” Dottie Peoples DP Musik Group (2014) www.dottiepeoples.com “Everything Must Change” is Dottie Peoples like you are not used to hearing her. Dottie doffs the traditional pulse for which she is so well known and goes Nina Simone on this slow inspirational ballad about that which is inevitable. Indeed, Simone recorded the song in the 1970s, although the original was waxed by Quincy Jones, featuring the song’s composer, Benard Ighner, on vocals. Dottie does a fine job with this contemplative song.  She transitions from jazzy chanteuse to fiery evangelist when, later in the performance, she uses the lyric, ...

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“When the Church Begins to Pray” – Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams

“When the Church Begins to Pray” Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams From the Dorothy Norwood Music Group CD An Incredible Journey (2014) Recorded live at Reid Temple AME Church in Washington, DC, “When the Church Begins to Pray” is a paean to the power of congregational prayer. Starting in spoken word mode, Dorothy “The Storyteller” Norwood defines the premise while a contemporary choir coos behind her.  After Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers joins in, the song becomes a shout fest between the two soloists.  The best part of the song is hearing two gospel veterans duetting.

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Thank You For All You’ve Done – Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford Thank You For All You’ve Done EchoPark JDI (2014) www.EchoParkJDI.com By Bob Marovich Hearing Beverly Crawford sing is always exciting. Hearing Beverly Crawford sing live is even more so. That’s what the listener gets on Thank You For All You’ve Done. A live recording done at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Thank You demonstrates how Crawford can shout and squall in the tradition of Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, and various other Caravans. Indeed, she opens the set with a ‘Vans (and Shirley Caesar) chestnut, “Sweeping Through the City.” Throughout the album, Crawford intersperses newer, praise ...

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Disciples of Christ – Renewed Praise

Disciples of Christ Renewed Praise D.O.C. Productions/B.A.D. Entertainment Disciplesofchristgospel@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog From Houston, Texas, the Disciples of Christ is a family female traditional gospel quartet group with plenty of contemporary flair.   Evocative of Lisa Brown & the Knowles Singers and Vetrea Stack Ruffin & the Ruffin Family, the Disciples are two pairs of mothers and daughters:  Arlene Jackson Bell, Shirley Benson, Shaniece Cleveland, and Candice Jackson.  They won the Texas Gospel Excellence Award Female Group of the Year four years running, from 2010 to 2013, and are heading to Switzerland to appear in a ...

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Georgia Louis: Singer, Pioneer Gospel Television Host, Dies July 3

TBGB thanks Dwayne Lightsey for alerting us to the passing of Georgia Louis.  Georgia was one of the first gospel artists I had the opportunity to speak with, and she was simply a lovely human being. Here is her complete obituary, as posted on the Dignity Memorial – Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home website:Georgia May LouisBorn on June 20, 1932 passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 3, 2014. Born to Samuel and Anna Branch of Delmopolous, Alabama. She was preceded by her parents, 11 siblings and her only child Joseph W. Louis. She moved to Connecticut in the late 1950s and ...

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“Jesus Can Work It Out” – Pastor Greg Harris

“Jesus Can Work It Out”Pastor Greg Harris Sabbath Day Records www.sabbathdayrecords.com Not the more famous Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer/Christian Tabernacle song, this “Jesus Can Work It Out” articulates the same message nonetheless.  Little Rock, Arkansas’ Pastor Greg Harris extols Jesus as the best doctor and the best lawyer.   Harris interpolates a line from Dianne Williams’ classic vamp for the Cosmo version, but the rest of the song is his.  A thump beat and backing vocal group give the song a quartet feel.  Earthy.

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TBGB Pick of the Week: July 1, 2014

“All of My Help” North Carolina Community Choir feat. Luther Barnes From the 4 Winds Records CD A Story To Tell www.malaco.com The North Carolina Community Choir does it again.  The choir’s latest single, “All of My Help,” is another example of how traditional gospel music structure never goes out of style.  That’s because it stirs up deep-seated emotions, from the meaty lyrics and hefty harmonies to the measured church melody, 12/8 rocking chair rhythm, and warbling B3.  Luther Barnes’s lead and the choir’s response build to a strong conclusion guaranteed to get arms waving and saints to shouting. The single ...

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