Tag Archives: north carolina

Johnny Ruffin Jr. – I’m Gonna Praise the Lord

Johnny Ruffin Jr. I’m Gonna Praise the Lord JBP Music (release date: June 19, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Like Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson, Johnny Ruffin Jr. of North Carolina celebrates old-school quartet singing. That’s the feeling you get from his independently-released album, I’m Gonna Praise the Lord. While most songs have contemporary arrangements, Ruffin sings like a veteran quartet lead singer. He is most effective on covers of gospel classics like the Dixie Hummingbirds’ “So Much to Shout About” and the Jackson Southernaires’ “I Need You to Hold My Hand.” Notwithstanding the unnecessary blasts of synth, Ruffin and Stanley “Li’l ...

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Ruth Black and the Harmonettes – He Woke Me

Ruth Black and the Harmonettes He Woke Me Raymarkable Music, Inc. (release date: August 13, 2021) www.raymarkablemusic.net By Robert M. Marovich Production by Ray Braswell Jr. at his Raymarkable Studios in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is a seal of quality for any quartet project, as it for the latest Braswell-produced CD, Ruth Black and the Harmonettes’ He Woke Me. The five-member female quartet from Alexander City, Alabama, offer ten quintessentially deep southern soul quartet selections. The album toggles between high-energy songs like “Weeping May Endure” (where the group bears an aural resemblance to the Ingramettes) and “I Know I’m Blessed;” ...

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“Begin Again” – Tevis Harris & faVor

“Begin Again” Tevis Harris & faVor (release date: January 11, 2021) www.tevisharris.com By Robert M. Marovich “Begin Again” by Dr. Tevis Harris and faVor is a lovely song with a message that is inspirational but also steeped in Scripture. The melody and arrangement have an easy, heart-tugging 1980s Peabo Bryson vibe that fits perfectly with the lyrical declarations of starting over. And on top of that, the group declares, God is calling you to begin again. Midway through, Harris is joined by fellow Rocky Mount, North Carolina, native Wanda Barnes of the famous Barnes Family. faVor, a group of Harris’s ...

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“America Bless God” – Bonita Burney Simmons

“America Bless God” Bonita Burney Simmons Independent (release date: January 7, 2021) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com By Robert M. Marovich In the introduction to “America Bless God,” the award-winning North Carolina gospel singer Bonita Burney Simmons offers an invitation to worship by quoting the patriotic anthem written by Irving Berlin in 1938, but then flips the title and transitions into a brand new song. Simmons looks back on 2020, with its hurricanes, pandemic, and political division, and declares that it’s time to come together and give God praise. Some of the lyric lines don’t fall trippingly from the tongue but the sentiment is ...

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“The Sound of Revival” – Edwrin Sutton

“The Sound of Revival” Edwrin Sutton From the Black Smoke Music Worldwide CD The Revival (release date: May 8, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer-songwriter Edwrin Sutton sets the nineteenth-century Presbyterian hymn “Revive Us Again” to a contemporary rhythmic call-and-response motive between him and his troupe of background singers. Sutton’s raw-edged singing during the song’s come-to-Jesus vamp evokes an evangelist at a tent revival, Bible aloft, walking the aisles, shouting the spirit down, and turning up the temperature near to praise break levels. Third cousin to soul superstar Otis Redding, Edwrin Sutton is North Carolina-born and living in the ...

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“Into This Place” – Bradie Frink & Ordinary People

“Into This Place” Bradie Frink & Ordinary People www.bfop.vision By Robert M. Marovich “Into This Place” is an antidote for the sameness of much P&W music. This lovely, liquid praise ballad, set in a minor key, benefits from a tender lead feature from Terrell Carter and sumptuous harmonies from Bradie Frink & Ordinary People, their singing anything but ordinary. The song has character, the production has crispness, and the musicians accompany the singers rather than compete with them. Originally from Washington, DC, and now living in North Carolina, Bradie Frink Jr. has served as the minister of music at numerous ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 5, 2021

“Fighter” Patreka Wortham (release date: March 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich “Fighter” is sufficient confirmation why North Carolina gospel singer Patreka Wortham took home top honors at the 34th Annual Stellar Awards Independent Artist Showcase in 2019. Written, she told Buzzmusic, at a point in time when she was “experiencing a big dose of ‘life,’” “Fighter” became her “pep talk” to herself. But the declarative power in her voice overwhelms the mantra-like lyrics. Patreka Wortham isn’t just singing a song of liberation, she’s proclaiming to the devil with her whole existence that messing with her comes at a significant ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2020

“Silent Night”HamiltonesFrom the Young Vintage CDA Hamiltone Christmas (release date: November 30, 2017)www.watchtheton3s.com By Robert M. Marovich Although labeled a soul and R&B group, the Hamiltones of North Carolina sound for all the world like a gospel quartet on “Silent Night.” From converting the song’s 6/8 time signature to 12/8 to the shouting vocals, gritty guitar work, adlibbing, and crackling vinyl intro, this is old school quartet, I don’t care what anybody says. Then again, the Grammy-nominated trio has been featured on albums by Anthony Hamilton, PJ Morton, Jonathan McReynolds, and Tori Kelly, so there’s that. Released in 2017, the ...

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Bishop Bobby Ingram & the Legendary Trenton Allstars

Bishop Bobby Ingram & the Legendary Trenton AllstarsBlessings Keep Coming1 Sound Music Group (release date: September 11, 2018) By Bob Marovich With five tracks and a bonus selection, Blessings Keep Coming by Bishop Bobby Ingram and the Legendary Trenton Allstars is technically an EP, but the North Carolina-based male quartet ekes out as much utility as it can from the limited disc time. The title track is a hard-charging celebration of continual blessings for not just basic necessities but also the grander goodness of peace and happiness. “Praise His Name” sets the Biblical Gospel Singers’ classic congregation favorite “I Came ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 11, 2020

“Better Days” Joe Daccache Independent (release date: April 3, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Better Days” is a pop-styled song with an inspirational message from Joe Daccache. A thumping beat with swatches of warbling organ, plunky piano, hand claps, and flourishes of brass give the impression of being in the church as well as in the park, as if Cee Lo Green and Kirk Franklin were jamming together. Inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer (she’s currently cancer-free), Daccache wrote “Better Days” with Autumn Marie Buysse and Tony Chetta. The song offers gratitude to God for blessings received, and brings a ...

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