Reviews

The World-Famous Barrett Sisters Wow At CIMMfest

Photo highlights from the screening of The Sweet Sisters of Zion: DeLois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters, produced and directed by Regina Rene. The screening and live performance occurred at the Chicago Independent Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) at Chicago’s Chop Shop/1st Ward Sunday, May 4, 2014.  The audience was so wowed by the documentary that they all but demanded someone reissue all out of print Barrett Sisters recordings and that the film be strongly considered for airing on PBS. Special thanks to the film’s touring team of Prof. L. Stanley Davis, Fran Allen-Leake, and Lynn Orman. Rodessa Barrett ...

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Jai Reed – Songs From My Heart

Jai Reed Songs From My Heart K. Lamp Entertainment, LLC (2014) klampentertainment@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although he is a New Orleans guy, Pastor Jai Reed must still consider it a treat to sing in the Gospel Tent at the Crescent City’s legendary Jazz and Heritage Festival.  This year, he was on the program during the festival’s first weekend, and no doubt performed selections from his new CD, Songs From My Heart. Two components that emerge from the album are Reed’s clear, melodic tenor; and quality songs from the pen of producer/musician/songwriter Kevin Lampton.  First the ...

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The Mckee Choir – What Shall It Take

The Mckee Choir What Shall It Take Sharp Records (2014) http://themckeechoir.bandcamp.com/album/what-shall-it-take By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Named for Rev. James E. Mckee, the Mckee Choir was organized several years ago by Ulannie “Link” Brewer.  The choir’s album, What Shall It Take, was recorded at its home church of Dunham Temple CME in Greenwood, South Carolina, where Rev. Mckee is pastor. The album is reminiscent of the self-produced church choir recordings that proliferated in the 1970s and 1980s.  The 36-member Mckee Choir is a decent group with an above average, albeit uncredited, female lead vocalist whose intense vocal ...

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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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