Reviews

“More of You” – Canton Jones feat. Darlene McCoy

“More of You” Canton Jones feat. Darlene McCoy From the CD God City USA (2014) Cajo Records By Libra Boyd, Guest Reviewer Gospel Music Fever In one of several collaborations from his newest release, God City USA, singer/writer/producer Canton Jones teams up with songstress and radio personality Darlene McCoy for a moderately-paced Christian hip-hop performance of “More of You.” McCoy kicks off the track’s opening verse with a melodic declaration of adoration and submission before sharing the mic with Jones for a harmonic duet of the chorus: “Just give me all of You and none of me, Lord / Let Your kingdom ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: August 25, 2014

“A Lil’ Louder (Clap Your Hands)” Rance Allen Group Tyscot Records (2014) www.tyscot.com A gospel trio that was blurring the barriers between the music of Saturday night and Sunday morning in the late 1960s, the Rance Allen Group returns to the funky style that brought them national attention with “A Lil’ Louder (Clap Your Hands).” From the thudding bass line to Rance’s trademark shouts of spiritual ecstasy and sanctified scatting, the song encourages every listener to get on up and worship. Dance, clap your hands, stomp your feet, raise your voice, and scream, sing the group, all to punctuation from the ...

Read More »

Sherry Songbird – Made For You

Sherry Songbird Made for You Family First Productions (2014) www.sherrysongbird.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Sherry Songbird’s sophomore release is an EP called Made For You. The six selections are sunny vertical praise songs written by Songbird, and the understated instrumentation, led by acoustic piano and guitar, spotlights her light but passionate soprano. Set to a robust string section, the title track expresses the joy of accepting Christ. Although the rests in the music pause too long for comfort, and the tempo could be quicker, Songbird delivers the lyrics with appropriate drama and stave-jumping notes that earned her stage name. While ...

Read More »

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise – Redemption

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise Redemption Daveshand Productions (2014) www.joedouglassministries.com By Bob Marovich Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise pulls out all the stops on Redemption. Douglass, a twenty-five-year-old Californian, organized Spirit of Praise a few years ago. The group released a single, “It Belongs to You,” in April 2012 and subsequently recorded Redemption, their debut live CD. It was released in June 2014. A lineup of gospel stars populates the album, although they were not necessary, as SOP is a strong vocal organization in its own right. A better than average “&” group in a galaxy of “&” ...

Read More »

Smokie Norful – Forever Yours

Smokie Norful Forever Yours Tre Myles Music / Motown Gospel (2014) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Grammy Award-winning vocalist Smokie Norful burst upon the national stage in 2002 with the breakout hit, “I Need You Now.” The song, featuring Norful’s trademark melismatic tenor, not only garnered significant gospel radio airplay, but also made the playlist of nighttime Quiet Storm programming. A licensed minister even before his solo career took flight, Norful founded Victory Cathedral Worship Center in suburban Chicago in 2005 and has released at least three recorded sermons. Forever Yours, the latest fruit of his labors, explores new musical territory ...

Read More »

Preachers of L.A.: New Season, Same Drama

“Preachers of L.A.” Oxygen New Season Starts Wednesday, August 20 10/9C By Bob Marovich “Preachers of L.A.,” the reality series featuring six successful Los Angeles-based pastors and their families, enters its second season today on Oxygen. Bishop Noel Jones, Minister Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney, and Bishop Ron Gibson are back with more drama. The opening episode centers on the newly-married Deitrick and Dominique Haddon’s “sip and see,” a house party to introduce their new baby daughter, Denver Monroe, to close friends. Innocent enough, yes, but contentious conversations and strained friendships cast a shadow ...

Read More »

Eddie Reddic – Above All

Eddie Reddic Above All Reddic Records (2014) Available at CD Universe By Bob Marovich Above All, the third album from Houston, Texas, native Eddie Reddic, ties traditional lyrics to contemporary sounds and resourceful arrangements. For example, Reddic gives the church classic “I’m a Soldier” a deep, funky treatment, while “Lead Me to the Rock” flows with a modern flair. Another congregational favorite, “What He’s Done For Me,” puts a heightened praise break-style tempo to a quartet sensibility. All eight of the songs on the album contain flavors of jazz, R&B, and contemporary gospel. What Eddie Reddic demonstrates above all on ...

Read More »

“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.

Read More »

Pick of the Week: August 11, 2014

“Your Destiny” Kevin LeVar & One Sound From Destiny Live at the Dream Center and More… (album release date: August 12, 2014) www.kevinlevar.com Inspirational balladeer Kevin LeVar has sung his way into the hearts of many with such lovely selections as “A Heart That Forgives,” “You Are Not Alone,” and “We’re Just Getting Started,” which he wrote for his own nuptials. “Your Destiny,” from Kevin LeVar & One Sound’s new CD, Live at the Dream Center and More… is fashioned in much the same formula: easy pop melody (evocative of early Seal), dramatic delivery, and lyrics that encourage strength in ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »