Tag Archives: philadelphia

RIP Howard Carroll – the “Dean of Gospel Guitar”

By Bob Marovich The Reverend Joe Williams informed JGM this morning that Mr. Howard Carroll, longtime singer and guitarist with the Dixie Hummingbirds, and long considered the dean of gospel guitar, passed away this morning in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy community. He was 93. “He did things with the guitar that no one ever did,” Williams told a crowd at Philadelphia’s Clef Club in 2016 during a presentation of the Gospel Guitar Award to Carroll. “No one ever did it in gospel music. He actually changed the way gospel music became because of the original things he did with the guitar. Then some ...

Read More »

“Holy, Holy” – Fresh Anointing

“Holy, Holy” Fresh Anointing Enon Music Group (release date: March 17, 2017) Available from digital media outlets By Bob Marovich Released in March of this year by the young adult choir Fresh Anointing of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, “Holy, Holy” is a contemporary take on the nineteenth-century hymn. Garland “Miche” Waller, Enon’s minister of music, packs his adagio arrangement of the beloved hymn with the bold, round harmonies characteristic of the modern gospel choir. Fresh Anointing builds the song’s dynamics incrementally, but as soon as they hit the song’s emotional apex and you expect a key change or big, dramatic ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: July 3, 2017

“Grace & Mercy” Tamika Patton feat. Min. Earl Bynum Available on iTunes and other Digital Media www.TamikaPatton.com By Bob Marovich On the independent single, “Grace & Mercy,” Tamika Patton proclaims her gratitude to God for his unconditional love and forgiveness. Such compassion, given “to a wretch like me,” has inspired her to pass it forward. The song’s carefree arrangement and mid-tempo two-step rhythm echo Patton’s exhilaration. She and featured guest vocalist Minister Earl Bynum, who joins halfway through, complement one another well. Their melodic voices, gilded with gospel grit, have a tangy blend, like salt and vinegar, as they go ...

Read More »

Hello, Dolly: Gospel Artist Jermaine Dolly Offers a “Different Dynamic of Being a Christian”

By Bob Marovich In 2012, Jermaine Dolly, a background vocalist for Tye Tribbett, began toying with becoming a solo gospel artist. But he set it aside. Growing up, the southwest Philadelphia native never thought of being an out-front performer. “I was happy singing background,” Dolly told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Happy being a keyboardist at my church. If I’m comfortable somewhere, I don’t move.” But things changed dramatically for him on May 25, 2014. “[That day] I heard the voice of God, that it was time to move on from singing background and pursue my own career. When God ...

Read More »

Historical Marker in Philadelphia Honors the Dixie Hummingbirds

From the Reverend Joe Williams: On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia commemorated the rich heritage of the Dixie Hummingbirds with a historical marker dedication at 2435 North College Avenue, Philadelphia. This was the rehearsal hall and former home of the founder and manager of the Dixie Hummingbirds, the late Mr. James B. Davis. The Dixie Hummingbirds originally formed in 1928 under the management of Mr. Davis. They influenced popular musicians, including James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations.  Their version of Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock” won a Grammy Award ...

Read More »

RIP William Bright, Member of the Sons of the Birds

The Reverend Joe Williams and Suzette Arnold passed along the sad news that William Bright, an original member of the Sons of the Birds quartet, went from labor to reward. Arnold noted that Bright was also with the Dixie Hummingbirds, singing with them as recently as last Saturday at a sellout crowd at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. The Sons of the Birds got their name because at one time, some of the singers were sons of members of the Dixie Hummingbirds. They recorded an album and several singles for Peacock’s Song Bird subsidiary in the 1960s. Mr. Bright is ...

Read More »

New Jersey’s Henry Hall Declares Dominion Over New Live Project

By Bob Marovich “I want to give people a sense of empowerment that they can do whatever it is they have in their heart to do,” Henry Hall said about the purpose of his new live recording, Declaration of Dominion. Hall might well have been talking about himself.  His own life is a lesson in striving to be all one can be. Born across the Delaware River from Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey, Hall lost his mother when he was just eleven years old. By age twelve, he and the rest of his family started attending church. Their worship home was ...

Read More »

“Because of Who You Are” – Sounds of Imani

“Because of Who You Are” Sounds of Imani Heaven-Wings Records (release date: October 21, 2016) www.soundsofimani.com Recording as the Sounds of Imani, Gerald and Carol Ervin have released their debut single, “Because of Who You Are,” a tuneful praiser that features the husband-wife team’s fine solo and duet vocalizing. Carol’s soprano is so reminiscent of Stylistics lead singer Russell Thompkins Jr. that this song sounds decidedly Philly, although the Ervins are from Detroit. The single also has an early Hawkins Family feel in its soft R&B tones, light tempo, and breezy ensemble harmonies. This all makes sense when one considers that ...

Read More »

Dee Dee Sharp – Songs of Faith (reissue)

Dee Dee Sharp Songs of Faith Cameo Records / ABKCO Music and Records (originally released in 1962; reissued October 21, 2016) www.abkco.com By Bob Marovich Just before the Beatles all but changed the face of popular music, Cameo/Parkway Records was finding new ways to keep kids dancing. From Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and the Orlons’ “The Wah Watusi” to the Dovells “Bristol Stomp” and Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time,” the Philadephia label was doing what Motown was about to do: recalibrate R&B music by African American artists for a multicultural audience. Cameo producers Kal Mann and Dave Appell knew ...

Read More »