Reviews

“God Will” – Kergyma Community Choir

“God Will” Kergyma Community Choir From the album Kergyma: The Proclamation www.kergyma.org Never let it be said that the Kergyma Community Choir doesn’t put on its shouting shoes once in a while. With evocations of the Cosmopolitan Warriors, Ricky Dillard & New G, and JJ Hairston and YP, the choir goes full throttle on “God Will.” Gwendolyn B. Williams, Beatrice Summerville, and Pastor Kevin Bond lead the full-throated choir in reassuring listeners that no matter what the doctor says or what is lacking financially, “God will take care of you.” Brief but impactful. Founded in 2001 by Gwendolyn Busch and Arnold ...

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JGM’s Pick of the Week: October 6, 2014

“The Greater” J. Grant Thompson Available on iTunes and other digital outlets on October 7, 2014 “The Greater” is the debut single from Washington, DC singer, songwriter, producer, and PK J. Grant Thompson. A notable debut it is. It is the gorgeous arrangement that imbues this lyrically and musically uncomplicated P&W anthem with its distinctive character. Thompson establishes an effective call and response with the background vocalists. I can imagine “The Greater” becoming just as popular with praise teams as songs by William McDowell and VaShawn Mitchell.

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Minister C.L. Johnson – Favor

Minister C.L. Johnson Favor Doowgam Records (2011) http://wreg.weebly.com/index.html By Bob Marovich Given Minister Craig L. Johnson’s career as a member of several gospel quartets, most notably the Pilgrim Wonders of Toledo, the Revelations of Cincinnati and, most recently, his reformation of the Flint Cavaliers, it’s not surprising his solo album, Favor, sounds more like a quartet album. Johnson’s background vocalists are male and female, but they support him like a male quartet. Favor’s strongest selection is “Havin’ Church,” a clever song that is also the title track of the Flint Cavaliers 2013 album for Low Rush/Grammercy. Here, Johnson joins forces with ...

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New Converted Voices – New Day: Live in Tupelo, MS

The New Converted Voices New Day – Live in Tupelo, MS (2014) www.newconvertedvoices.org By Bob Marovich “You may have come in with your head hung down, but you go ahead and lift it up and smile.” This is how the New Converted Voices opens the title track of their new album, New Day – Live in Tupelo, MS. The quartet is speaking about the uplifting power of Jesus, but the comment can also mean their confidence in the uplifting power of their live performance. The New Converted Voices are a contemporary quartet from Tupelo that blends old-school religious wisdom, traditional ...

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“It’s Our Time” – Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise

“It’s Our Time” Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise First Lady Productions (2014) Anointedpraise2011@yahoo.com The ensemble from Jacksonville, Florida, that gave us the flowing, dramatic “I Believe” offers “It’s Our Time,” a tough-talking staccato declaration of war on the devil. “He don’t fight fair, but we ain’t scared,” the group sings, like prayer warriors clad in armor suits preparing for battle. “We’re taking over, ‘cause it’s our time.”  The single is one more example of how Dr. Vera Goodman & Anointed Praise deserves a closer look by major labels and gospel radio PDs. Incidentally, “I Believe” is now available as ...

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Various Artists – The Best of Revelation Records: 1959-1962

Various Artists The Best of Revelation Records: 1959-1962 Narro Way Records (released September 16, 2014) www.cityhallrecords.com www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Mention the name Bobby Robinson to popular music historians, and you will hear how he founded a number of New York-based record labels, including Whirling Disc, Fury, Enjoy, and Red Robin, and released classic hits for Wilbert Harrison (“Kansas City”) and Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Every Beat of My Heart”). He even allegedly advised a young vocal harmony group called the 5 Satins on how to approach a record company with a song they had called “In the Still ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 29, 2014

“Alright OK” J Moss PMG Gospel (released May 2014) If Pharrell Williams hit it with “Happy,” the feel good song of 2014, J Moss has the equally peppy “Alright OK.” An acoustic piano introduces a jaunty pop melody as J Moss explains how he focuses on the good and lets the bad roll right off his back. Knowing that God is watching out for him on the sunny as well as the rainy days, he concludes, “I won’t complain even if I could.” Produced by PAJAM, “Alright OK” is the singer’s most engaging single in some time.

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Debra Black – God In Every Season

Debra Black God In Every Season Debra Black Music (released August 2014) www.debrablackmusic.com By Bob Marovich On God In Every Season, Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Debra Black offers up worship songs in a voice that is very easy on the ears and arrangements that are laden with pleasant pop melodies. Black’s voice blends Sarah McLachlan sweetness with the no-nonsense country of Faith Hill, and her lyrics are uniformly positive and warm, the product of a gentle, introspective soul. Praise to a God who is a constant companion sums up the acoustic “I Will Exalt,” and complete surrender to Jesus is the subject ...

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Zie’l – [Pronounced ZY-EL]

Zie’l [Pronounced ZY-EL] Dream Records (release date: September 2, 2014) www.dreamrecords.org By Bob Marovich I first encountered the power trio Zie’l of Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2005 at the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Hearing Christina Bell, Keyondra Lockett, and Crystal Bell sing traditional gospel songs like an old-school quartet with jazz training gave me a glimpse of their future success. Not long thereafter, their CD Genesis garnered a Stellar nomination. The trio’s latest album, [Pronounced ZY-EL], sounds like two albums in one. Six of the ten tracks represent a different style for Zie’l, almost experimental, with a mix of urban AC and ...

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Marilynn Dunn – God Will

Marilynn Dunn God Will Dunn’s Ministries (2014) www.Marilynndunnministries.com By Bob Marovich Singing in choirs since age eight, Marilynn Dunn of St. Louis released her third CD, God Will. It is a collection of personally-penned and personally-arranged compositions as well as covers of familiar gospel and CCM tunes. Dunn’s forte is traditional singing and specifically church selections that are to gospel singers what coloratura arias are to opera sopranos. To wit, Dunn includes two signature favorites among gospel soloists: Dottie Rambo’s “We Shall Behold Him” and Rev. Paul Jones’ “I Won’t Complain.” “I Press” is a bluesy neo-traditional song about one’s ...

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