Reviews

Dawn Turner – God’s Thoughts

Dawn Turner God’s Thoughts (EP) Story Book Music, Inc. (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/dawnturner By Bob Marovich Buffalo, New York, native Dawn Turner is a fine church singer. She’s not a shouter, squaller, or melismatic artisan but, as she demonstrates on “God’s Name,” one of the five cuts on her God’s Thoughts EP, she can sure enough deliver blue notes while singing flatfooted. Turner is also a songwriter, and all but one of the tracks on God’s Thoughts are her own compositions. One, “Giving is a Ministry,” is an ode to the importance of tithing and the blessings that come from grateful giving. It ...

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Charles Jenkins – Think About These Things

Charles Jenkins Think About These Things Inspired People LLC / EMPIRE (release date: September 2, 2016) http://inspiredpeoplemusic.com By Bob Marovich I have followed Pastor Charles Jenkins since his Fellowship Chicago debut and Stellar Award-winning The Best of Both Worlds, which offered pew-burning odes to the church’s traditional gospel legacy and gave us the gospel smash and spiritual earworm, “Awesome.” The follow-up, Any Given Sunday, tamped down the high-charged gospel of Worlds with more helpings of P&W, save for the single, “War,” but it still contained songs to teach the church choir. So trust me when I tell you that Pastor Jenkins’s solo ...

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Trisha Alicia – Pieces

Trisha Alicia Pieces New Day Christian Distributors (2016) www.trishalicia.com By Bob Marovich Martrisha Atkins (aka Trisha Alicia) is a singer-songwriter and spoken word artist whose album, Pieces, is a string of selections designed to tell a story—her story—not so much to achieve personal catharsis, though I’m sure it does, but more so to help others better understand their own story. With the notable exception of the title track, one of the album’s lyrical high points, don’t expect Trisha to hand her story to you on a silver platter. Instead, she offers droplets of truths throughout the album, which on its ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2016

“Walking in Victory” Angela “Missy” Billups E’Mazin Entertainment (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/angelamissybillups6 New York-based singer Missy Billups returns to her traditional roots on her latest single, “Walking in Victory.” This uptempo call-and-response piece, which Billups introduced at gospel conventions this summer, contains a calypso-sounding chorus that offers a vivid image of Billups strutting across the platform in a victory walk. Traditional soul notwithstanding, the song wears a contemporary vibe as Billups exuberantly celebrates spiritual release and declares victory over her family and her future.  I personally enjoy when Missy puts the P&W aside and gets her old school on, as she does ...

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Mahalia Jackson – Moving On Up a Little Higher

Mahalia Jackson Moving On Up a Little Higher Shanachie / Spirit Feel (release date: September 30, 2016) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Moving On Up a Little Higher may well be the finest collection of Mahalia Jackson selections ever released, and ranks among Anthony Heilbut’s best produced music projects to date. It’s certainly the most historic gathering of Mahalia’s work. When I say this CD of 22 previously unreleased tracks covers 1946 to 1957, hardcore traditional gospel music fans will know what I mean. This is the Queen of Gospel Music in her prime—no Mitch Miller, no Percy Faith. Better yet, the ...

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Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir – The Favor of God

Rev. Luther Barnes and the Restoration Worship Center Choir The Favor of God Shanachie Entertainment (release date: September 9, 2016) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Decades ago, Luther Barnes breathed the Red Budd Gospel Choir into life at the church his father, the late Reverend F. C. Barnes, founded in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Today, Luther has a new choir, a new church, and has followed his father’s footsteps into the ministry: he is now the Reverend Luther Barnes. As Founder and Pastor of Restoration Worship Center in Rocky Mount, Barnes proudly showcases the singing of his church choir on The ...

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Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records: 1959-1969

Various Artists Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records: 1959-1969 NarroWay Records (2016) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Gospel music has had many multi-taskers, chief among them the late Brother Henderson of Los Angeles, California. In the late 1950s, Sylvester C. “Duke” Henderson forsook his R&B singing career, hung up his rock and roll shoes, and plunged headlong into sacred music. He ran the popular All Gospel Record Store in L.A., hosted his own gospel music radio show on 50,000 watt XERB, wrote and published songs, promoted concerts, and headed up two record labels: Proverb and Gospel Corner. Despite Henderson’s prolific ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 26, 2016

“Keep on Praising” Jewell & Converted Independent; release date: September 23, 2016 www.cdbaby.com/cd/jewellconverted The fiery female quartet Jewell & Converted score their second JGM Pick of the Week with “Keep On Praising.” To a handclapping tempo, lead singer Jewell Taylor offers hypothetical personal challenges as Converted responds by chanting “What do you do?” The collective reminds the listener of how the Scriptures answer this and puts it in the vernacular: “lift up your head,” “wear a smile,” and praise your way through. “Keep On Praising” is a traditional shouter near impossible to listen to sitting down, especially during the vamp, when ...

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Christopher Williams – Stepping Out

Christopher Williams Stepping Out (private release, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/christopherwilliams24 By Bob Marovich Stepping Out by Christopher Williams, a Jacksonville, Florida, singer, songwriter, worship leader, and Rhythm of Gospel Award nominee, showcases a contemporary gospel stylist with more than a dash of smooth jazz in his veins. Most of the album’s ten songs contain pop melodies that ride along on a smooth jazz accompaniment. Not to be confused with the R&B singer of the same name, Williams is a religious vocalist with a bright, optimistic tenor not unlike other young gospel industry stars such as Jonathan McReynolds, Maurice Griffin, and Todd Dulaney. Williams interjects exquisite falsetto notes whenever he wishes ...

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Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir: God Be Glorified

Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir God Be Glorified (self-produced; release date: May 14, 2016) www.ndcgmwa.com By Bob Marovich Gospel choirs trained under the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) umbrella possess a certain style that non-GMWA choirs do not necessarily have. It’s spit-polish combined with passion, thunderous voices that can sing at a whisper, lively leads, and contemporary arrangements anchored in tradition. If GMWA was handing out seals of approval to choirs that met these standards, the Northern Delaware Chapter’s Recording Choir would get one. On the choir’s debut effort, God Be Glorified, it demonstrates a consistent command of hymns, ...

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