Reviews

Mississippi Mass Choir – “God’s On Your Side”

“God’s On Your Side” Mississippi Mass Choir feat. Le’Andria Johnson From the Malaco CD Declaration of Dependence  (release date: June 3, 2014) www.malaco.com Put the Mississippi Mass Choir together with Le’Andria Johnson, and you have a potent combination of old school passion.  Opening with a Kirk Franklin-esque call and response, the choral voices rise in intensity as Johnson sings her part from creamy smooth to scorching fortissimo.  The song, written by the team of Stan Jones and Jerry Smith, encourages the congregation to hold on and be strong because God has your back.  As “God’s On Your Side” fades, Johnson ...

Read More »

“Word of God Speak” – Perfection

“Word of God Speak” Perfection 4 Winds Records (released October, 2013) www.malaco.com The modern gospel quartet Perfection covers MercyMe’s 2002 hit “Word of God Speak” with delicately smooth harmonies, soulful lead singing, and an arm-waving sing-a-long at the conclusion. On the album version, Perfection adds a snippet from Thomas Whitfield’s “We Need a Word from the Lord.” The interpolation blends well with the arrangement but, most importantly, with the message of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Comprised of Steve Maples, Gerrod Allen, Chris Williams, and Kevin Lake, Perfection hails from Jackson, Tennessee.  The quartet gained national visibility after winning the Allstate ...

Read More »

TBGB Pick of the Week: May 26, 2014

“Better”The ShowersA&P Records (2014) Nothing like being pushed to the edge of the fire, metaphorically speaking, to produce a good gospel song.  “I’m tired of my life / I’m tired of the pain / I’m tired of my past / the guilt and the shame,” the Showers sing on “Better,” their second single, written and produced by Deon Kipping. To an appealing but intense arrangement, the Showers pray for the ability to change their lives for good. The ten sibling singers from Louisiana plan to release their national debut album this summer. Watch the video to “Better” here:  :

Read More »

Eloho – Arise

Eloho Arise (Released March 15, 2014) http://elohoefemuai.co.uk/ By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog From Nigeria and now living in Scotland, Eloho Jocelyn Efemuai, known simply as Eloho (it means “prosperity”), is a singer, worship pastor, and presently part of the worship team at The Junction Church in Aberdeen. Her debut solo album Arise blends CCM melodies with Afropop rhythms. The high point is its title track and single, a song that encapsulates the album’s thematic and musical expressions. “You Are (My God),” a well-executed duet with Nigerian singer-producer Akinwunmi Nathan Oluniyi Akiremi, aka FLO, is a close second ...

Read More »

Reel Brothers – The Reel Experience

Reel Brothers The Reel Experience Shekinah Praise Music Publishing (2011) http://www.reverbnation.com/reelbrothers By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog On some quartet projects today, the singers and musicians seem as if they are in a tug-of-war over who should be most prominently featured.  On The Reel Experience, the Reel Brothers gospel quartet and their musicians sound like best friends, inseparable and complementary.   Reading the liner notes, one discovers why: the singers and musicians are one and the same. The Reel Brothers come from West Memphis, Arkansas, and are Min. Antwan Stinnett, Min, Devin Brown, Jeromy Thomas, Nick Merritt, Ricky Reel, ...

Read More »

TBGB Pick of the Week: May 19, 2014

“Only God Can”Danetra Moore Tyscot Records (2014) www.tyscot.com Danetra Moore’s anthem “Only God” sings the praises of He who can do anything and everything, including move the mountains, calm the raging sea, and “take someone like me to use for His glory.” Introduced by a delicate acoustic piano, the song traverses through a robust contemporary arrangement and concludes with Moore’s bluesy testimonial vamp.  By the end, Moore has demonstrated a vocal range from cooing gentleness to evangelistic shouting and squalling. Originally from Stockton, California and now living in Atlanta, Danetra Moore is a singer, actor, and model who appeared on ...

Read More »

Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers)

Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers) Tyscot Records (released April 22, 2014) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Deitrick Haddon and Tyscot Records want to bring the choir back.  To make manifest their pledge, they’ve released Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers).  The album not only celebrates the youthful verve of the gospel choir but features the talent of some of today’s most acclaimed directors. The League of Xtraordinary Worshippers sounds like a team of superheroes—indeed, those who purchase a hard copy of the DVD get an LXW comic book—but it’s a choir led by ...

Read More »

“I Survived” – Marquis Jelks

“I Survived”Marquis Jelks Available on iTunes Accompanied only by warm, warbling B3 organ, Marquis Jelks delivers “I Survived” in the conversational singing style that goes back nearly as far as gospel music itself. A sung testimony in the mode of “I’m Still Here” and “I Can’t Complain,” “I Survived” has that church solo vibe.  Jelks’s elastic voice makes it all the more so.  The only thing missing is the live audience clapping, standing, and shouting encouragement to Jelks as he sings his troubles over. From Decatur, Illinois, Marquis R. Jelks is Founder and CEO of the Song Factory, a business ...

Read More »

The Williams Singers – Destined

The Williams Singers Destined Deznell Music Group (rel. April 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Not to be confused with the Williams Brothers of Mississippi, the Williams Singersis a quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana, the city that brought you, among other artists, Brown’s Inspirational Singers, Robert Turner and the Silver Hearts, and Al “the Bishop” Hobbs. Darnell, Dezrale, and Dezmien are the Indiana Williamses, and their new album, Destined, is one of the best gospel quartet albums I’ve heard this year.  You’ve got to love a group that name checks the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the ...

Read More »

DJ Caleb – Got Gospel? Vol. 2

DJ Caleb Got Gospel? Vol. 2 Email: djcaleb@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog DJ Caleb is a gospel DJ, which means he spins gospel music for special events, not on the radio.  He releases mixtapes to promote his turntable talent.  Got Gospel? Vol. 2 is an excellent example of his sampling skills and mix magic. The set opens with a selection of joyfully brisk songs from indie and major gospel artists—Mary Mary and Lecrae to Onitsha and Leah Smith—nearly all of whom have been reviewed and/or interviewed for The Black Gospel Blog at one time or another.  ...

Read More »