Tag Archives: Memphis

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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RIP: Rev. John Wilkins, Gospel Singer and Musician

By Bob Marovich Gospel music collector and enthusiast John Glassburner informed JGM that the Reverend John Wilkins, son of blues singer Robert Wilkins, passed away October 6 at age 76 after a two-month battle with COVID-19. Bob Mehr of the Memphis Commercial Appeal does a far better job than I could writing Rev. Wilkins’ obituary, so please read it here:https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2020/10/06/rev-john-wilkins-obit-dies-memphis-music-blues-gospel/5902177002/ Here is a video of Rev. Wilkins cutting a 78 RPM record for The 78 Project: Here is JGM‘s review of Rev. Wilkins’ five-star album, You Can’t Hurry God (Fat Possum Records, 2010): http://journalofgospelmusic.com/gospel/reverend-john-wilkins-you-cant-hurry-god/. JGM sends its condolences to Reverend Wilkins’ ...

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“Love” – Donnell Russell & Free Worship

“Love” Donnell Russell & Free Worship feat. Jai Reed, Tonya Boyd Cannon, Cory Ricks & Caren Green The Rite Note Ent. (release date: June 5, 2020) www.donnellrussell.com By Bob Marovich Donnell Russell & Free Worship’s “Love” is a crossover single in lyric and melody. To a quiet storm R&B arrangement, the singers remind listeners that “when all hope is gone,” where there is “injustice and hatred,” love is the answer. The inevitable rap interlude portrays life without love. Short but smooth and brimming with talented featured soloists, “Love” is a song written with today’s problems in mind. It offers the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 10, 2020

“God Wants to Heal You” Earnest Pugh Black Smoke Music (from the 2017 album Survive) By Bob Marovich Recorded originally in 2006 by Apostle Kevin Davidson and the Voices, the Davidson-penned “God Wants to Heal You,” which was covered by Earnest Pugh as early as 2009, is being promoted as a single. Much shorter in its new go-around than Davidson’s original, the gospel ballad nevertheless receives a faithful treatment from Pugh, whose tenor voice is similar in texture to the composer’s own (both are from Memphis). Pugh also brings along an ensemble of background vocalists to assist as the choir. ...

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The Southern Sons of Memphis – “Live” At Home in Memphis

The Southern Sons of Memphis “Live” At Home in Memphis SOME Records (2016) www.sonsofmemphismusic.com By Bob Marovich Although released in 2016, the Southern Sons of Memphis’s “Live” At Home in Memphis is, like most gospel quartet recordings without undue amounts of synthesizer, evergreen. Bob Holloway, the Southern Sons’ longstanding member, is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on this album, recorded at Boston Baptist Church in Memphis. His vocal delivery alternates between flatfooted crooning, pleading, shouting and, when the spirit catches him, a high-pitched shriek that emerges from his shout. Like a minister at the pulpit, Holloway interpolates ...

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Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis – Super Excited

Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis Super Excited EmptyMe Entertainment (release date: July 20, 2018) www.vtkonline.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live at Hope Church of Memphis, Super Excited is the latest full-length project by that city’s Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis. For a decade, the rhythm and praise group and its singer-songwriter leader have worked within the high-spirited and dense choral sound of fellow Memphian the late O’Landa Draper. Super Excited follows the same extroverted musical path as the group’s 2012 Live in Memphis. The album’s eight songs are uncomplicated but their vocal and instrumental arrangements are anything but. The group’s singing is ...

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“Won’t He Do It” – The Beard Sisters

“Won’t He Do It” The Beard Sisters DBJ Entertainment (release date: November 15, 2016) www.thebeardsisters.com By Bob Marovich The Beard Sisters of Memphis (Angela, Latonya, and April) are a harmony trio. They sound inspired by Chicago’s Brown Sisters, or a younger version of the Clark Sisters, because of their sassy vocals, multifaceted rhythms, complex vocal blend, and sunny songs of praise and worship. On their soulfully retro-sounding single, “Won’t He Do It,” the trio celebrates God’s willingness to do everything for His people. The song’s hook is the reiterative freefall from a frenetic chorus of “Won’t He Do It” into a breezy jazz ...

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Cameron Ross – Power: Instrumental Praise & Worship

Cameron Ross Power: Instrumental Praise & Worship Cameron Ross Music (release date: April 19, 2018) www.cameronrossmusic.com By Bob Marovich Jazz saxophonist Cameron Ross’s sophomore album Power lives up to its subtitle. Ross renders contemporary Praise & Worship favorites in the smooth jazz format and then commences to improvise on their melodies on saxophone. Songs such as Israel Houghton’s “You Are Good,” Martha Munizzi’s “Glorious,” and William Murphy’s “You Reign” get this restful but restless treatment. Without lyric context, however, songs such as “Jump” and the title track are virtually indistinguishable from non-sacred jazz instrumentals. A music educator in the Memphis school system, Ross grew ...

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Elvis Presley – Where No One Stands Alone

Elvis Presley Where No One Stands Alone RCA / Legacy Recordings (release date: August 10, 2018) www.legacyrecordings.com By Bob Marovich When Elvis Presley became a national sensation in the mid-1950s, there were those who thought he was the devil personified, what with the hip shaking, sneering, and rock ‘n’ roll music. They did not realize that the twisting and sneering phenom from Memphis grew up listening to southern gospel quartet singing on the radio and hung out by New Trigg Baptist Church to hear the choir of the Reverend W. Herbert Brewster. And in December 1956, when Elvis and fellow ...

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