Tag Archives: detroit

RIP: Tessie Hill, Gospel Singer

Marcel West of Detroit, Michigan, informed the Journal of Gospel Music that gospel singer Tessie Hill-Ackey passed away on July 28, 2019. Born October 9, 1934, in Monroe, Georgia, Madame Hill migrated at a young age to Detroit, Michigan. She later became lead vocalist of the choir at the church shepherded by her husband, the late Pastor Lonnie Hill. The Original Church of God in Christ Choir, which for a time included a young Rance Allen on guitar, made albums for Savoy Records during the 1960s. Hill’s vivacious, expressive voice led many of the choir’s selections. Hill had a solo ...

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“After All These Years” – Freddi Rene

“After All These Years” Freddi Rene From the CD Guide Me www.freddirene.com By Bob Marovich On its surface, “After All These Years,” written by Carl Phillips, Gabriel Young, and producer Gregory G. Pearson, sounds like a conventional love song. But in the song’s first few seconds, Freddi Rene asserts that the source of her love is the Lord. The breezy contemporary single contains hints of Freddi’s hometown of Detroit in its Whitfield-esque jazz chord progressions and complex melody. In fact, if you slowed it down, “After All These Years” sounds like something the Clark Sisters would sing. Freddi Rene has ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 11, 2019

“Amazing”The Davis’Heartbeatz Productions LLCwww.realdavismusic.com By Bob Marovich A family that prays together stays together, and that goes double for family groups that sing their prayers. Like the Davis Family of Inkster, Michigan. The members of this sibling act–Carl, James, Andrea and Angela (the girls are twins)—demonstrate their choir-honed harmonies and church-refined song delivery on their new single, “Amazing.” To choruses of sunny “shoo-doos” and equally cheerful musicianship, the four express admiration at all God has created. Then they call on fellow Michigander Twinkie Clark, who changes the song’s mood from contemporary to traditional by injecting into the mix a battery ...

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Soul Don’t Worry: Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967

Various Artists Soul Don’t Worry! Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967 NarroWay Records (release date: September 21, 2018) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Soul Don’t Worry is the most ambitious project to date for NarroWay / Gospel Friend, the Sweden-based gospel reissue operation headed by producer Per Notini. In the past, Notini has focused on chronicling individual artists and labels, but this time he has taken on an entire era’s worth of gospel music. And not just any era, but one of the most significant of the twentieth century: the fight for civil rights in America. Some listeners might ...

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New Evelyn Turrentine-Agee Single Declares “God Gave His Best”

By Bob Marovich Written and produced by her son, Curtis Turrentine Jr., Evelyn Turrentine-Agee’s “God Gave His Best” will be released Friday, October 5. It’s the latest single from the Queen of Quartet, whose gospel music career spans several decades. Evelyn told the Journal of Gospel Music that her singing ministry began at the tender age of two. “At two years old, I was singing so much that my dad would take me to church. He’d hold me up in his arms and say, ‘Sing baby!’ My favorite song to sing was ‘Thank You, Jesus.’ People would just shout! At first I thought, ‘What’s the matter with ...

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Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul and Gospel Singer

By Bob Marovich Aretha Franklin, the multi-GRAMMY Award-winning “Queen of Soul,” went on home to be with the Lord today at age 76 after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Memphis but a longtime Detroit resident, Franklin was an accomplished gospel vocalist before and during her professional music career. In her early teens, she delighted the congregation of her father Reverend C.L. Franklin’s New Bethel Baptist Church with solo renditions of “Never Grow Old,” “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” and other gospel songs and hymns. Listeners heard a huge, expressive voice well ...

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Pastor C. James Starks, Patriarch of the Starks Family, Makes His Transition

(Detroit, MI)  Members of the Gospel Music community at large offer prayers and condolences to the Starks family in the untimely passing of the family patriarch, Elder C. James Starks, on Monday, April 14. A loving and devoted husband, father, spiritual leader, and “man by example,” Pastor Starks was a mentor and inspiration to many, both young and old. “Dad was my hero,” said multiple Dove and Stellar Award-nominated composer and producer Derrick Starks. “I would not be the man or the musician I am today had it not been for his example. Over 54 years of marriage and 80 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 1, 2018

“Your Will” Bill Moss Jr. feat. J Moss Salathiel Records (release date: July 21, 2017) www.billmossmusic.com By Bob Marovich Although they debuted on the gospel scene as the Moss Brothers, Bill and James “J” Moss have since pursued separate solo careers. They come together again on “Your Will,” an understated, piano-introduced, and jazzy rumination on the personal benefits of living a Godly life. On the single, from Bill Jr.’s project, Live with Third New Hope: Songbook of Praise & Worship, the brothers notch the gospel heat up with every newly sung verse. The song oozes class and sophistication as the brothers deliver ...

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Check Out the Trailer for “Detroit: The Gospel Journey”

By Bob Marovich If you think the story of music in Detroit begins and ends with Motown, think again. Detroit’s gospel music legacy goes back many decades, way before Berry Gordy started Hitsville, USA.  The contributions that Detroiters have made to gospel music continue to enrich the genre today. The story of gospel music in Detroit was just waiting to be told by the right person.  That right person is Marcel West.  With great passion and diligence, West spent years mining archival photos, videos, and other rare ephemera, and interviewing the living legends who took gospel music around the world. The result is a documentary DVD called Detroit: The Gospel Journey. The ...

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“Calvary’s Cross” – Min. David A. Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions

“Calvary’s Cross” Minister David A. Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions (release date: September 29, 2017) http://dawhitfieldproductions.webs.com/ By Bob Marovich On their latest single, “Calvary’s Cross,” Minister David Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions raise aloft the standard of expansive contemporary choir singing established in part by David’s uncle, the late Maestro Thomas Whitfield. This call-and-response piece on the cleansing power of Jesus’s death on the cross is produced by Pastor Rudolph Stanfield Jr., another towering giant of Detroit gospel. Thunderous singing, thick harmonies, and melancholy instrumentation rise toward the conclusion like the ascent to Calvary. Whitfield Productions can trace its founding to a May 18, ...

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