Reviews

TBGB Pick of the Week: April 28, 2014

Demetrius Woods “Nothing Without You” Available via online retailers April 29, 2014 The artist formerly known as Holy Boy converts Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” into “Nothing Without You.”   The gospelization makes sense.  It’s a short distance lyrically between “If I ain’t got you” to “If I ain’t got you, Jesus.”  Plus, Keys’ song sounded gospel inspired to begin with. Woods maintains fealty to the original in his use of relaxed soul and mellow harmonies, while his vocals transition from smooth to shout.  It is a satisfying version of the 2003 pop hit.

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Johnny B. Williams – Songs for the World to Sing

Johnny B. Williams Songs for the World to Sing Salathiel Records (2013) www.salathielrecords.com  By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog I extolled the virtues of Johnny B. Williams in 2009 after listening to his five star album, The Way I Worship.  With his latest CD, Songs for the World to Sing, Williams continues to demonstrate prowess as a singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. The album is packed with crisply produced radio-sized selections, all written and performed by Williams, who hails from Jewett, Texas. The songs range in their musical foundation from urban AC and contemporary gospel to tunes with ...

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Chicago a cappella’s “Birth of Gospel” educates, entertains

“The Birth of Gospel” Chicago a cappella Saturday, April 12, 2014 Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog The historic Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston was packed to the rafters to hear Chicago a cappella perform “The Birth of Gospel” yesterday evening. The mostly Caucasian crowd didn’t need the ghost of Mahalia Jackson to teach them how to clap on the gospel beat.  They did just fine whenever the eight-member ensemble—four men and four women—delivered a hand-clapper selection in its two-hour program of songs ranging from spirituals and lining hymns to traditional and contemporary ...

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Chicago Choirs Rouse Audience at Allstate Gospel SuperFest

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Maybe I’m biased, too much of a choir geek, or maybe it was simply home court advantage, but for all the star power at yesterday’s Allstate Gospel SuperFest in Chicago, and there was much, the hometown choirs provided the evening’s most noteworthy performances. That’s not saying there weren’t many outstanding presentations during yesterday’s television taping of Allstate’s fifteenth annual Gospel SuperFest, held at Pastor James Meeks’ auditorium-sized House of Hope.  There were.  From Tye Tribbett, Desmond Pringle, and James Fortune & FIYA, to Micah Stampley, Michelle Williams, Vicki Farrie, Joshua’s Troop, JJ ...

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Arnetta Murrill-Crooms (Self-Titled)

Arnetta Murrill-Crooms (Self-titled) On The Beat Entertainment (2013) www.OnTheBeatEntertainment.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Arnetta Murrill-Crooms hails from the talented Murrill Family of North Carolina.  Alumni of Donald Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers, the Murrill siblings released their own album, the Lawrence-produced Family Prayer, in 2008.  It featured Arnetta leading the single, “There’s a Healing.”  The album garnered Stellar and Grammy nominations. Arnetta, who recently received the Best Female Gospel Artist honor at the 2013 Queen City Awards, has released her debut solo CD.  In a genre known for distinctive voices, Arnetta’s voice stands out for its musky texture ...

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Geneatha Wright – Just As I Am

Geneatha Wright Just As I Am Godfather Records (2013) www.godfathergospel.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Just As I Am is the solo debut album of Geneatha Wright, a praise and worship singer from South Florida.  Her style falls within the Florida multicultural P&W sound made popular by the likes of William McDowell, Javen, Madelyn Berry, and sisters Martha Munizzi and Mary Alessi. The album was recorded live at the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, Florida, where seven-year-old Geneatha Daughtry started her music ministry by joining the Little Singing Angels Children’s Choir.  She went on to ...

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North Carolina Community Choir – A Story To Tell

North Carolina Community Choir A Story To Tell Malaco Records (2013) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog If there’s a choir to give the Mississippi and Chicago Mass Choirs a run for their money, it’s the North Carolina Community Choir. Formed initially to back the Sensational Nightingales on “Every Promise in the Book is Mine,” and Rev. F.C. Barnes and Darrell Luster on “(God Is God) He Won’t Change,” the group decided to become permanent.  Their debut album, A Story To Tell, is a masterful expression of the gospel choral sound. The album is loaded with traditional-style ...

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Rev. Maceo Woods 2013 Gospel Supreme is Supreme Indeed

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Where else but at Pastor Maceo Woods’ Gospel Supreme can you hear the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir, the First Church of Deliverance Radio and Television Choir, the Wooten Choral Ensemble, Minister Tim White, the Carson Sisters, Pastor DeAndre Patterson, and on and on….and then conclude with a performance of “Jesus” by Lady Supreme Doris Sykes! Congratulations to Pastor Woods and his team for a spectacular gospel program last night at First Church of Deliverance (Bishop Otto T. Houston III, Pastor). Here’s thirty seconds of the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir at the top of ...

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“Whatever You Need” – The North Carolina Community Choir

“Whatever You Need” The North Carolina Community Choir From the 4 Winds Records release A Story To Tell (2013) www.malaco.com With “Whatever You Need,” the North Carolina Community Choir puts an asterisk after the statement that the Southeastern U.S. is exclusive territory of the gospel quartet.     The single is quintessential gospel choir: a hand-clapping, joyous workout on God’s infinitely abundant generosity.  Whether one needs love, peace, joy, or happiness, the song states, God “will give it to you.”  Still, one hears a definite quartet influence in the choir’s extended vamp and M. Duval Smith’s meaty down-home lead vocal.  Not ...

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Clara – A Musical on the Life of Clara Ward

Clara Open Door Repertory Company Oak Park, Illinois www.opendoorrep.org By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog “I had to die in order to live.” So says the spirit of Clara Ward in the opening scene of Clara, a musical on the life of the gospel star, written and directed by Jeff Award-nominated McKinley Johnson (Train is Comin’, Georgia Tom).  The show held its World Premiere at the Open Door Repertory Company in Oak Park, Illinois this past week. Johnson’s musical views Clara Ward with a sympathetic eye but without avoiding the rougher details of her life.  The unflinching, stark ...

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