Traditional Gospel

The Essential Beverly Crawford, Volume 2

Beverly Crawford The Essential – Vol. 2 JDI Records (release date: February 2, 2018) By Bob Marovich Gainesville, Florida, gospel singer Beverly Crawford is a steadfast traditionalist, and God bless her for it. She is among the most popular of those singers who perpetuate the audience-rousing squalling and shouting characteristic of old time evangelism, and who still sings songs packed with church aphorisms and mother wit. As was the case with the first volume of The Essential Beverly Crawford (2005), neither “It’s About Time for a Miracle” nor “Sweeping Through the City” are included on The Essential – Volume 2, despite ...

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The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down

The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Put Together Music (release date: February 16, 2018) www.shawnamos.com By Bob Marovich The Reverend Shawn Amos might just be the most righteous preacher who’s not a preacher. Amos, whose mother was nightclub singer Shirl-ee May and whose father was a William Morris Agency executive and founder of Famous Amos cookies, is not a licensed ordained minister. Nevertheless, he uses his platform to speak truth to power, and pulls on a lifetime spent in the music business to accentuate the urgency of his message with fistfuls of biting blues guitar and harmonica. “21st Century Freedom ...

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Yvonne Staples of the Staple Singers Passes Away

By Bob Marovich Bill Carpenter, co-founder of Capital Entertainment in Washington, DC, and a longtime friend of and spokesperson for the Staples Family, informed JGM of the passing of Yvonne Staples. She died at her home in Chicago today, Tuesday, April 10, at age 80. Born in Chicago on October 23, 1937, Yvonne was initially a reluctant singer. She didn’t join her family’s group until some years after its founding. While not a lead singer, Yvonne’s baritone contributed greatly to the Staples’ distinctive harmonies. She is present for the Staple Singers’ late 1950s selections on Vee Jay Records, their songs of social significance for ...

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Paul Thorn – Don’t Let the Devil Ride

Paul Thorn Don’t Let the Devil Ride Perpetual Obscurity Records (release date:  March 23, 2018) www.paulthorn.com By Bob Marovich Paul Thorn’s Don’t Let the Devil Ride hits the Americana music jackpot. With the Blind Boys of Alabama and the McCrary Sisters as guest vocalists, the Preservation Hall Horns among the musicians, and Rick Hall’s Fame and Sam Phillips’ studios as well as Preservation Hall providing recording mojo, Thorn could have performed “Happy Birthday to You” and it would have sounded smothered in tangy barbeque sauce. But Thorn taps his sacred roots (his father was a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 19, 2018

“Prayer Room” Jarell Smalls & Co. From the CD A New Season Southern Wave Music Group / Get Ready Music Group (release date: May 19, 2017) http://jarellsmalls.com/ By Bob Marovich By evoking Grandma at the outset, Jarell Smalls gives the appropriate old-school pedigree to “Prayer Room.” Then, to a rockabilly-guitar-meets-Pentecostal-beat, he and his group jump into the congregational classic, “Come in the Prayer Room.” The Charleston, South Carolina-born Smalls scats, vamps, chants, and shouts like a quartet singer. With about two minutes remaining on the recording, the Company moves from the back to the front. The singers shift the melody, but ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 22, 2018

“Church Medley II” Syreeta Thompson Trumpetlady From the CD Evolution of a Winner (release date: September 15, 2017) www.trumpetlady.com By Bob Marovich At one time, brass instruments in the service of God were found only in Pentecostal and Spiritual churches and, of course, in the famed shout bands of the United House of Prayer for All People. But times have changed and trumpets, saxophones, and all sorts of instruments are welcome at nearly every type of church. Still, there are few female brass players in gospel music. Syreeta Thompson is one. The Grammy Award-winning, Billboard-charting and Stellar Award-nominated Thompson pays homage to ...

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Dr. Timothy D. Poston – Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live”

Dr. Timothy D. Poston Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” Jeremiah Praze Records (2007) By Bob Marovich Bay Area music minister and organist Dr. Timothy D. Poston’s Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” may be several years old but, like the hymns he presents and the instrument he plays them on, it’s ageless. Even those only tangentially familiar with church hymnody will know the names of most, if not all, of the fourteen or so selections on the album. “Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee.” “How Great Thou Art.” “Pass Me Not.” “Precious Memories.” “The Old Rugged Cross.” Many ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 5, 2017

“I’m Saved” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement (release date: December 1, 2017) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is a choir town. Always has been. One of Chicago’s current crop of choir stars is Dexter Walker & Zion Movement. Crowned the best church choir in America at the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound contest, the group has a new single, “I’m Saved.” “I’m Saved” evokes the exuberance of Ricky Dillard & New G and Chicago Mass Choir with its energetic tempo, rhythm thick with tambourine jingles (it’s subtitled “The Tambourine Song,” after all), and rotund gospel choir harmonies ...

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“Not Alone” – Eric Maurice Clark feat. Minister Tim White

“Not Alone” Eric Maurice Clark feat. Minister Tim White From Songs from the Heart (release date: October 2, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ericmauriceclark By Bob Marovich For his album Songs from the Heart, emerging songwriter Eric Maurice Clark gathered together seasoned gospel singers and musicians to interpret his compositions, which range from Praise & Worship songs to neo-traditional fare. The extended intro to the churchy “Not Alone” has the stuffing sung out of it by Chicago’s Minister Tim White, who could sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and have people shouting. To Troy Garner’s gently warbling organ, White sings the verses straight and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 14, 2017

“Sweet Beulah Land” Eddie Ruth Bradford (release date: September 25, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/eddieruthbradford3 By Bob Marovich The gospel songbird of Clarksdale, Mississippi, is at it again, this time with a mournful hymn about the eternal home. Backed by minimal instrumentation and the producer’s voice multi-tracked to simulate a male quartet (and a good one, too), “Sweet Beulah Land” finds Eddie Ruth Bradford singing longingly about that place “across the river” where there will be no more goodbyes or sadness. The lonely, weary melody and ERB’s bluesy vocals express the fatigue of the soul living in an unforgiving earth, but the lyrics look ...

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