Reviews

Mr. Del & Rod G. Newman – Geeks & Gangstas

Mr. Del & Rod G. Newman Geeks & Gangstas Holy South/Geek World Entertainment/DMG (released April 1, 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although Mr. Del’s Hope Dealer just hit the streets, not long ago the Grammy and Dove-nominated Christian rapper from Memphis joined forces with Rod G. Newman of Birmingham, Alabama, to create Geeks & Gangstas.  The album, available at online music stores but also via free download from Noisetrade (tips welcome), plays the two artists’ styles off one another.  Newman is a bowtie-wearing self-described “Jesus Geek” and Del is the gruff-voiced, street-savvy former gangsta rapper.  Despite ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

Eric Thomas – Keep On Climbin’

Eric Thomas Keep On Climbin’ Self-released (2009) www.cdbaby.com/cd/ethomasmusic By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Keep On Climbin’ by Chicago singer Eric Thomas could easily be subtitled “With the Sons of Chicago Gospel Legends.” That’s because Richard Gibbs (Inez Andrews’s son), Bryant Jones (Rev. Billy Jones and Jeanette Robinson Jones’s son), and Joey Woolfalk (Johnny Woolfalk’s son) are among the album’s musicians.  And to top things off, the legendary Gene Barge (Checker Records) produced the album and plays sax on one track.  Eric Thomas can call such leading lights together because he is no stranger to Chicago music.  He ...

Read More »

Minister L. Jones – Hallelujah to His Name

Minister L. Jones Hallelujah to His Name Sharper Brothers (released January 16, 2014) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d wager that the early work of Commissioned and the Winans had more than a smidgen of influence on the singing style of Minister Lorenza “LoJo” Jones of Birmingham, Alabama.  They and ’80s soul balladeers Billy Ocean and Jeffrey Osborne. This is the mix you experience on Minister Jones’ solo album, Hallelujah to His Name.  The ten tracks have a back-to-the-Eighties vibe, mixed with a preacher’s penchant for declarative instruction. ...

Read More »

“Beautiful” – Wincey

Wincey “Beautiful” From the CD Time to Say (2012) www.winceyco.com Wincey Terry-Bryant’s “Beautiful” is an acoustic love song to God, though it could also be an acoustic love song to another person, or even encouragement to one’s self, for that matter. Its lithe, lilting melody is lovely and in sync with other tracks on the Jersey City, New Jersey, native’s debut album, Time To Say, which she began recording in 2008 and released four years later. Although it may have difficulty breaking into gospel radio, which currently favors a denser, more flamboyant form of praise, “Beautiful” is the kind of ...

Read More »

TBGB Pick of the Week: July 7, 2014

“Amazing Worth” Charles Butler & Trinity feat. Jeremiah Hicks From the EPM Music Group CD Better www.epmmusicgroup.com Gospel enthusiasts first became aware of Washington, DC’s Charles Butler & Trinity when the ensemble backed Earnest Pugh on his 2009 hit, “Rain On Us.”  In February 2013, the group released its debut album, Better, on Pugh’s EPM Music Group imprint. “Amazing Worth” is the latest single release off of Better.  While the song follows Pugh’s formula for delivering graceful P&W anthems, the passion of the singers is what sells it. Together with the musicians, Jeremiah Hicks and Trinity eke every ounce of ...

Read More »

“Worthy God” – M. Roger Holland

“Worthy God” M. Roger Holland From the forthcoming GIA CD Building Up the Kingdom www.giamusic.com M. Roger Holland gives what could be just another P&W ballad a richness through a nuanced arrangement complete with strings, background vocalists, canny melodic changes, and expert use of dynamics.  His voice is a mix of Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson (two of his inspirations), especially at the song’s apex.  His tenor nearly leaps out of the speakers when he holds notes and leaps into falsetto. The musicality is not surprising.  In addition to vocalist, Holland is a pianist, organist, composer, arranger, and symphony director.  ...

Read More »

“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.

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

Tim Spady & Inspiration – Just Believe

Tim Spady & Inspiration Just Believe Tspady Music Productions (released May 27, 2014) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Songwriter and keyboardist Tim Spady’s new album, Just Believe, is a compilation of songs, most of which deal with faith, endurance, overcoming, and victory through the simple but often difficult act of unquestioning belief. Spady’s calling card is his melodicism: inventive and hypnotic on the opening track, “Joy Will Come in the Morning,” and bursting with scrumptious harmonies on the single, “You Give Me.”  His gospel music contains as much pop-classical influence as it does R&B and soul.     Members ...

Read More »