Tag Archives: philadelphia

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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“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 ...

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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 ...

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Belle Carmen – Love, Dreams & the Space Between

Belle Carmen Love, Dreams & the Space Between Chrispel Records (2016) www.bellecarmensplace.com By Bob Marovich Part song, part spoken word, and part instrumental, Belle Carmen’s Love, Dreams & the Space Between chronicles the ebbs and flows of her love story with Jesus Christ. Unlike some sacred love songs, there is no ambiguity about the object of Belle’s love focus. It’s Jesus, who is perfect.  She (and by extension, we), the imperfect and flawed, struggles to maintain her part of the bargain. At the same time, Belle wants to do better, and she articulates this in song on “Love You Right” and “Good ...

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Temple University Libraries honors Dixie Hummingbirds Guitarist Howard Carroll September 29

Philadelphia, PA, September 1, 2016 – September is Gospel Music Heritage Month, and on Thursday, September 29 at 2:00 p.m., the Blockson Collection of Temple University Libraries will present “Gospel Gold: The Golden Era of Gospel Music,” honoring legendary Dixie Hummingbirds guitarist Howard Carroll. Hosted by Gospel Highway Eleven (WNAP 1110 AM) Radio DJ Linwood Heath, the program will include gospel music by the Sons of the Birds and special guest speaker, the Reverend Joe Williams. Howard Carroll, affectionately known as the “Father of the Gospel Music Guitar,” is the oldest living member of the Dixie Hummingbirds gospel group. Mr. ...

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Bishop Andrew J. Ford II & the Anointed Voices – EP

Bishop Andrew J. Ford II & The Anointed Voices EP from the forthcoming CD We Still Serve a Mighty God www.fordmemorial.com By Bob Marovich By means of an EP and the current radio single, “A Mighty Good God,” Bishop Andrew J. Ford II & The Anointed Voices of Ford Memorial Temple are giving gospel music enthusiasts a taste of their forthcoming CD, We Still Serve A Mighty God. A choir director since his teenage years, Ford parlayed his fondness for gospel choral singing into the founding of Sweet Rain Records. The label recorded such artists as the Wilmington Chester Mass ...

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