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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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Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson – Keep Pushin’

Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson Keep Pushin’ Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: May 4, 2018) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich It’s been 20 years since Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson appeared on the national gospel scene, introducing the traditional quartet sound to a new generation of listeners. He continues his crusade to blend the old school with the new on Keep Pushin’. Though billed as a solo project, Johnson has plenty of help from a battery of singers, including Prathan “Spanky” Williams, Josh Miles, Ray Braswell Jr., and Karen Clark. Together, they traverse musically diverse territory, though most of it remains grounded in tradition—none ...

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Faithful Connection – Thank You

Faithful Connection Thank You (2015) www.faithfulconnection09.com By Bob Marovich Named Quartet CD of the Year at the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, Thank You is a ten-track album by Faithful Connection that blends traditional gospel quartet singing with modern musicianship. The Fredericksburg, Virginia, group pays homage to Tidewater quartet history through its tight harmonies that emphasize the mid-range versus high tenor or bass. The quartet’s harmonies are especially prominent on the title track and on “Come Too Far,” which opens with the classic open guitar strum and features a warbling organ as well as hard singing from guest lead James H. ...

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“Heaven Belongs to You” – The Alabama Gurlz

“Heaven Belongs to You” The Alabama Gurlz From 4 Winds Records CD “The Gurlz” Live (2014) www.malaco.com “Y’all ready to go to church?” Stephania Johnson asks the church audience kindly. Not receiving a proper response, she growls in frustration: “Y’all don’t want to go to no church with me!” That does the trick, and the congregation connects with the Alabama Gurlz as they commence with “Heaven Belongs To You,” an evangelistic call-and-response with a jaunty tempo and led by Johnson with demonstrative insistence. The premise is simple: Heaven is yours to lose. It is a singular example of the ladies’ ...

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Various Artists: An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live

Various Artists An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live Malaco/4 Winds www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Malaco Records and its 4 Winds subsidiary are the main standard bearers for gospel quartet singing, a style that once dominated the gospel charts but has since fallen behind mass choirs and small choirs in radio play and album sales. But unlike their secular peers in vocal harmony who retired and only gather for PBS retrospectives, many gospel quartet singers from the golden age are still working the road, albeit with groups comprised of new personnel. Some of the lead singers from quartet’s golden age gathered ...

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New Converted Voices – New Day: Live in Tupelo, MS

The New Converted Voices New Day – Live in Tupelo, MS (2014) www.newconvertedvoices.org By Bob Marovich “You may have come in with your head hung down, but you go ahead and lift it up and smile.” This is how the New Converted Voices opens the title track of their new album, New Day – Live in Tupelo, MS. The quartet is speaking about the uplifting power of Jesus, but the comment can also mean their confidence in the uplifting power of their live performance. The New Converted Voices are a contemporary quartet from Tupelo that blends old-school religious wisdom, traditional ...

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