Tag Archives: malaco music group

RIP: Val Alexander (Gospel Keynotes)

By Robert M. Marovich Debra Robinson informed JGM yesterday that Val Alexander, longtime singer and guitarist for the Gospel Keynotes, passed away on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Alexander can be heard on Gospel Keynotes recordings as early as 1970. Here is a brief bio on the Gospel Keynotes: From Tyler, Texas, Willie Neal Johnson – affectionately known as “Country Boy” – began his professional singing career when Rev. C. W. Jackson invited him to join a local group, the Five Ways of Joy Gospel Singers, while he was still a teenager. The Five Ways of Joy instilled in Johnson a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 2, 2020

“Hallelujah Anyhow” Canton Spirituals feat. Al Green Malaco Music Group www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Highway 51 links Canton, Mississippi, to Memphis, Tennessee. So does the single “Hallelujah Anyhow,” as it links the Canton Spirituals and the Reverend Al Green. The combo works. Keep in mind that Green came from gospel and, after entering the ministry, went back to gospel, earning GRAMMY Awards for his gospel albums. A conventional quartet song written by the Canton Spirituals’ Harvey Watkins Jr. and producer Stan Jones, “Hallelujah Anyhow” finds Watkins and Green, elder statesmen of church and church music, sharing nonspecific testimonies about illness ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 21, 2020

“I Can’t Give Up” Byron Cage From the AIR / Malaco Music Group CD Isolation www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich It turns out the title of multiple Stellar Awardee Byron Cage’s September 2019 album, Isolation, was prophetic. But on “I Can’t Give Up,” the album’s latest single release, Cage and his background vocalists declare that their present circumstances don’t define them. “I’m built to win,” Cage enthuses, singing on his own behalf as well as on behalf of the listeners. The troupe sets pulpit-honed wisdom such as “I’ve come too far” and “no weapon formed against me shall proper” to an ...

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“Bow Down” – Christina Bell

“Bow Down” Christina Bell From the Malaco CD For His Glory www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich It’s not easy being the psalm to follow the popular Psalm 23 (“The Lord is My Shepherd”). Nevertheless, Psalm 24 has plenty of wonderful imagery to offer and Christina Bell must agree. The former Z’iel member sets its opening lines to a bracing P&W rhythm on her new single, “Bow Down.” From Bell’s September 2019 debut album for Malaco Music Group, “Bow Down” is the kind of aerobic selection frequently employed today to open worship services. Though Bell’s contralto has plenty of depth and shading, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2020

“On and On” Darius Paulk feat. Janae Slack-Smith From the AIR / Malaco CD Strong (release date: February 20, 2020) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Although the uncomplicated worship ballad “On and On” has a decided pop flavor, the harmonica and pedal steel give it a contemporary country vibe. The single features fine singing from Darius Paulk and flights of lithe-to-muscular soprano from Janae Slack-Smith, all of it held together by the melodic background vocalists. Paulk is perhaps best known for penning “Nobody Greater,” the career-making single for VaShawn Mitchell. Listen closely, and you’ll hear that “On and On” has shades ...

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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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“Look at God” – Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet

“Look at God” Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet 4 Winds Records / Malaco Music Group (release date: February 2020) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich What if Spencer Taylor Jr. of the Highway QCs, Rev. Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All Stars, Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers, JoJo Wallace and Horace Thompson of the Sensational Nightingales, and Cleave Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees got together to sing? Further, what if they told the story of how hard the gospel highway was in the golden era? That’s what you get on “Look at God,” a new composition by Darrell Luster ...

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RIP: Sister Lucille Pope

By Bob Marovich Malaco Music Group announced that Sister Lucille Pope passed away Thursday, September 26. Home going arrangements are as follows: Saturday, October 5, 2019 Time: 11:00 a.m. Location: The Covenant Church 1700 Corey Blvd. Decatur, GA 30032 Funeral Home: McDowell Funeral Home 305 N. Hill St. Griffin, GA 30223 From her Malaco Music Group bio, which I created for their website: Born Lucille Hall on January 12, 1936, to a Concord, Georgia, sharecropping family, Pope sang while she plowed the fields. She also sang at church and at school, and wrote lyrics and songs whenever the spirit led ...

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“Oh How Good It Is” – Byron Cage

“Oh How Good It Is” Byron Cage From the Malaco / AIR Release Isolation (release date: September 27, 2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Byron Cage, designated the Prince of Praise for helping popularize Praise & Worship music in African American churches, opens his new single, the cheerful “Oh How Good It Is,” with a declaration of praise. He wants to be “in the presence of the King”—so much so that it makes him want to shout, holler, and throw up his hands. Not out of anger and frustration, like Marvin Gaye, but out of joy and gratitude. Halfway through the ...

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RIP: Dr. Jonathan Greer II, Organist, Choir Director, Church Leader

By Bob Marovich Dennis Bines informed the Journal of Gospel Music that Dr. Jonathan Greer II passed away on Saturday, August 31, 2019. Home going arrangements will be announced as soon as they are known. Meanwhile, here is a brief bio on Dr. Greer, written by me for the Malaco Music Group website and approved by the late Dr. Greer: A gospel organist, choir director and church leader, Dr. Jonathan Greer II was born June 4, 1941, to Bishop Jonathan Greer Sr. and Vanilla “Dear” Thompson. The young Jonathan grew up in his father’s Chicago church, Light of the World ...

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