Tag Archives: detroit

PJ Morton: Gospel According to PJ

PJ Morton Gospel According to PJ Morton Inspiration / Tyscot (digital release date: August 14, 2020; physical release date: November 27, 2020) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Much is being made about Gospel According to PJ being PJ Morton’s return to gospel. But like the Reverend C. L. Franklin said of his GRAMMY-winning daughter Aretha, Bishop Paul S. Morton can say of his GRAMMY-winning son: he never really left the church. That’s because most of Gospel According to PJ is a re-introduction, in new arrangements, of sacred songs that Morton, a multi-genre musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, created for other ...

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RIP: Verline Rogers (Meditation Singers)

By Bob Marovich JGM was saddened to learn from Laura Lee and Marcel West that soprano Verline Rogers of the Meditation Singers passed from labor to reward on August 27, 2020, after an extended illness. She was living in Las Vegas at the time of her passing. Rogers was a member of the Meditation Singers of Detroit, a female group headed by Ernestine Rundless. She appears to have joined the group sometime in the early 1960s and recorded with them throughout the decade. In addition to Rogers, other members of the group over the years included R&B stars Della Reese ...

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Instruments of Musick – Determination (EP)

Instruments of Musick Determination (EP) Independent (release date: June 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Psalm 33:2,” a track from the Instruments of Musick’s Determination, is a rousing sacred steel-led and non-vocal interpretation of “Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.” While the track, evocative of a Campbell Brothers jam, evokes the musical excitement of a praise break, it also serves as a motto for the ensemble’s stringed-instrument music ministry. Blood brothers Garvin and Gary “Fatman” McKinney of Detroit comprise the gospel band Instruments of Musick. Although Determination is not their ...

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RIP: Leo Coney (Violinaires, Gospel Classics)

By Bob Marovich JGM learned from multiple sources of the passing of Leo Coney, a quartet singer formerly with the Violinaires and the Gospel Classics. He transitioned to glory on August 2 around 5:00 p.m. Coney was one of the original Violinaires. The quartet was formed in 1952 in Detroit, Michigan, by Coney, Isaiah “Lil Shot” Jones, and Wilson DeShields. Arthur “Bob” Beatty, who served with the Heavenly Gospel Singers and the Sensational Nightingales, was another early member. According to Beatty, the Violinaires sought initially to replicate the sound of the Heavenly Gospel Singers. Eventually, however, their emphasis on treble ...

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RIP: Rose Marie Rimson Brown, “Songbird of Michigan”

By Bob Marovich The gospel music community mourns the loss of Rose Marie Rimson Brown. Detroit gospel music historian Marcel West informed JGM of the passing of the beloved soloist of the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ, the choir directed by Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Known as “The Songbird of Michigan,” Mrs. Rimson Brown was lead vocalist on some of the Southwest Michigan State Choir’s most popular songs, most notably “I Thank You Lord” and “I’ll Never Turn Back” (both with Ora Watkins) and “Write My Name Above.” She was also a member of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 20, 2020

“We Are Family, We Are Friends” Darius Twyman & Destiny Character Music LLC (release date: February 21, 2020) By Bob Marovich Detroit singer, songwriter, and choir leader Darius Twyman teams up with his longstanding choir, Destiny, for a song with a dual purpose: to encourage global unity and to offer much-needed words of comfort and hope to the discouraged everywhere. Lush choir harmonies and Twyman’s impassioned vocals evoke the work of the Reverend Donald Vails, whose Voices of Deliverance was where a preteen Twyman cut his vocal teeth. The song is smooth, inspirational, and steeped in the Motor City’s polished ...

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RIP: Jerome Williams of the Evereadys

By Bob Marovich Sister Ducky, quartet and traditional gospel music correspondent in Detroit, reported the sad news that Jerome Williams of the Evereadys passed away yesterday morning at age 66, allegedly of complications from COVID-19. The history of the Evereadys stretches back to Detroit 1950, when future R&B star Jackie Wilson formed an a cappella gospel group called the Ever Ready Gospel Singers with brothers Lorenzo and Emmanuel Jordan and bass singer Jack Johns. The group was locally popular and toured the Midwest, but when Wilson left to sing R&B, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers disbanded. In 1967, after some ...

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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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