Tag Archives: chicago

Another Soldier Gone: Pastor James R. McClain

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music learned of yet another passing, that of Pastor James R. McClain of the Willing Four. Here is a quick history of the Willing Four, much of which comes from McClain’s own unpublished history of the gospel quartet from Chicago. Chicago’s Willing Four was organized in 1951 in the home of Deacon and Mrs. Renzy and Linda Beene. Founding members of the quartet were Isaiah and Sylvester Beene, W. C. and Arthur Smith, Jake Akins, and Clifton Love. First tenor George Hudson joined in 1955. The quartet sang a cappella until 1956, when ...

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RIP: Rev. Maceo Woods, Pastor, Organist, Founder of “Gospel Supreme” Musical

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn of the passing of the Reverend Maceo Woods today. Maceo Len Woods was born April 23, 1932, to Fred and Rosa Anna Anderson Woods, who migrated from Mississippi to Morgan Park. By age twelve, Maceo was serving as organist for Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Morgan Park, where his family was a member. Initially drawn to a career in medicine, Woods became more interested in music. Woods organized his first singing group, the Maceo Woods Male Chorus, at Mt. Calvary. Woods’ godfather, Eugene Smith of the Roberta Martin ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 31, 2019

“He Never Failed Me Yet” Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir From The Greater Harvest Experience, Vol. 1: Broadcast Edition (release date: October 29, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnellnicholasthegreaterharve By Bob Marovich For decades, Chicago’s Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church has had a touch of Pentecostalism in its worship and music. Though the church hasn’t recorded in quite some time, its Sanctuary Choir recently released an eight-track live project, two years in the making, called the Greater Harvest Experience. The album captures the Bapticostal feel of the church’s worship services. The album includes “He Never Failed Me Yet,” a full-bodied choral workout ...

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The Many – Love > Fear

The Many Love > Fear Plural Guild (release date: November 15, 2019) www.themanyarehere.com By Bob Marovich The Many is a multicultural vocal group based in Chicago and comprised of the talents of Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michele. On their latest release, Love > Fear, they offer their distinctive brand of relaxed Christian pop, complete with warbling organ, tinkling electric piano, a solid rhythm section, and sugary sweet harmonies. As on the group’s 2017 album, All Belong Here, love is the focus of this collection. In “Extravagant Love,” for example, love is abundant and changes everything. On the title ...

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Various Artists – No Other Love

Various Artists No Other Love: Midwest Gospel 1965-1978 Tompkins Square (release date: November 8, 2019) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Its playlist culled from the seemingly-limitless catalog of indie artists and labels, Tompkins Square’s various artists collection No Other Love is full of honest, unbridled soulfulness. There is no large record company smoothing out the rough edges for commercial viability. Unlike the top gospel stars of the day who sustained their ministries by singing full-time, the artists on No Other Love typically limited their appearances to weekends because they had day jobs (that included the pastors). They appeared on local programs, ...

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Backstage with Motown Gospel Artist Gene Moore

By Bob Marovich Last December, gospel artist Gene Moore was on top of the world. He had recently gotten married to the love of his life, and things were looking up. He had released his debut album, The Future, on Motown Gospel in 2016. Then the trials started. “First, my wife’s car broke down and we were sharing a car for about six months,” Gene said. “Then I lost three of my jobs due to layoffs and changes in administration. I had to file for unemployment. I started to drive for Uber and Lyft. I told my wife I felt ...

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Highlights from the Closing Program at the 2019 Chicago Gospel Music Festival

By Bob Marovich Despite rumbles of thunder and intermittent downpours that kept the audience under umbrellas for much of the program, the closing event of the two-day 2019 Chicago Gospel Music Festival proceeded without delay. A collaboration between Chicago’s Department of Cultural and Special Events, the Stellar Awards, and the National Museum of Gospel Music, the evening program, held at the city’s Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, featured appearances by several Stellar Award nominees and awardees. Emcees were Pastor Charles Jenkins and Terrell Brown, Anchor, ABC 7 Chicago. Here are a few photographic highlights of the evening:

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Pastor Maceo Woods and Christian Tabernacle Celebrate 50th Anniversary of “Hello Sunshine”

Stellar Award Lifetime Honoree PASTOR MACEO WOODS Presents HELLO SUNSHINE LIVE! Pastor Maceo Woods, Stellar Award Bobby Jones Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Billboard classic, Hello Sunshine. TRACK LISTING: Hello Sunshine In Jesus Name (I Won’t Leave Here) Jesus is Keeping Me Oh Lord Deliver Me I Thank The Lord I’ll Get Home Someday (We Are Climbing) I’m So Grateful Wonderful He’s There Step To Jesus I’m Living in the Care of the Lord Revive Us Again The Life Boat I Will Give Thanks He Lifted Me Executive Producer: Pastor Maceo L. Woods 2019 Compilation: ...

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Elsa Harris – I Thank God

Elsa Harris I Thank God The Sirens (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music and, in many respects, it’s also the home of the genre’s most ardent preservation efforts. In addition to the forthcoming National Museum of Gospel Music, the vitality of traditional gospel in the Windy City can be heard on veteran gospel artist Elsa Harris’s mostly instrumental CD, I Thank God. Harris’s piano proclivities, forged in the practice room as well as the church, recalls the jauntiness of traditional gospel, a distinctive sound too often obscured in the wake ...

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