Reviews

The Gospel Angels – I Still Remember

The Gospel Angels I Still Remember Next Level Publishing (2004) www.thegospelangelsdc.com By Bob Marovich I Still Remember has been around for more than a decade—it was released the year the Journal of Gospel Music was born, in fact—but this album by the Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, is worth revisiting because it is emblematic of how much musical fun saving souls can be. First, of the eleven tracks, five are up-tempo selections, more hip-slapping than just about any gospel quartet CD I’ve heard in a long while. One might conclude that the high percentage of “drive tempo” songs is because ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2015

“Something About That Name” Lorraine Stancil Anointed Sounds Records (2015) I’m rather stoked about the recent release of so many traditional-style gospel singles, including this one by Psalmist Lorraine Stancil-Lawson. Product of the Pentecostal church, Psalmist Stancil is known to kick off her shoes just like Shirley Caesar, and on “Something About that Name,” she shouts and squalls like Pastor Caesar in full throes of sanctified passion. Stancil’s call and response with the background vocalists/choir heightens the tension to the point where she emits a couple of dog whistle soprano notes. Also like Caesar, Lorraine Stancil-Lawson has entered the ministry. ...

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“Find a Way to Love” – Mr. McCloud

“Find a Way to Love” Mr. McCloud Concrete Records Available on iTunes starting July 1, 2015 On “Find a Way to Love,” Detroit Pastor Robert McCloud puts his estimable hip hop experience to work in the service of good. He offers a general apology to all those he has hurt in the past, and in song and rap asks God to help him “love a little bit more.” Specifically, McCloud wants to leave and stay out of a world full of falsehood and hate and find his way to a world full of love, where he has a family, children, ...

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“Hey Daddy” – Derrell Thomas

“Hey Daddy” Derrell Thomas Full Circle Records (2015) www.fullcirclerecords.us Most likely because of the primacy of the family matriarch, but also because of gospel’s roots in Victorian-era hymnody, gospel music is brimming with songs about Mother. “Mother Bowed,” “Mother Prayed for Me,” “I Can See Everybody’s Mother,” “Mother Sang Those Songs,” and so on. Father is far less represented but no less important.  Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s 2010 “My Daddy” is a Father’s Day favorite, but the radio airwaves this Father’s Day will undoubtedly also include spins of Derrell Thomas singing Lesley Brice and Qasim Coleman’s “Hey Daddy.” To a cool soul ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 15, 2015

“I’ll Stand” Lady Voncile feat. Pastor R. L. Bush http://gloryboundrecords.bigcartel.com To the whirring of an organ and sassy opening licks from a guitar and piano, Lady Voncile Belcher delivers this church-ready solo about faith with flatfooted conviction. She hands the microphone to the Reverend R. L. Bush, who gives the verse a thorough working over in his preacher/quartet leader rasp. Later, they duet while the background vocalists reply antiphonally. If this performance was recorded live, you’d hear the saints in the background, shouting encouragement. The release concert for her latest CD, Phenomenal, on which “I’ll Stand” is included, takes place ...

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J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

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Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 8, 2015

“I’ll Make It All Right” Trish Standley From the forthcoming Jan’s Joy CD No One Else www.trishstandley.com Gospel thrush and fashionista Trish Standley covers the Beautiful Zion Missionary Baptist Church Choir of Chicago’s 1973 hit, “I’ll Make It All Right,” with all of the joyous soulful funkiness of the original. The backing group hand claps as Standley delivers the encouraging message, weaving melodic lines in her upper register. Standley didn’t have to do much more than reprise the original to make it musically relevant because it was ahead of its time when it was released more than 40 years ago. ...

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Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure – #GETITDONE

Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure #GETITDONE Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com Syndicated radio host, choir director, worship pastor, former model, Stellar Award winner, recording artist, CEO, educator, and now clothing line owner, Lonnie Hunter is gospel’s Renaissance Man. Despite his busy schedule with “The Lonnie Hunter Show” and as host of the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, Hunter and his choir, Structure, recently rolled out their fifth release, #GETITDONE. The album features P&W lyrics set to creamy choral arrangements, some of which evoke the rich church choir tradition of Hunter’s Chicago upbringing. Paying indirect tribute to Hunter’s prior work with Chicago’s Voices of St. ...

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“All Praise” – Anton Milton & Glorified

“All Praise” Anton Milton & Glorified Lunjeal Music Group/Malaco Music Group (2015) www.malaco.com South Carolina native Anton Milton, now working out of New Jersey, cites Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, and John P. Kee among his inspirations. His single, “All Praise,” testifies to this with its energetic ensemble vibe. The kind of cheerful though somewhat conventional R&P selection that worship teams like to open the service with, “All Praise” features plenty of antiphonal vocal play between Milton and Glorified. The ensemble comes from Allen Carr’s Lunjeal Music Group, the Arkansas imprint that gave us Allen’s daughter, Jekalyn Carr. Lunjeal’s partnership with ...

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