Tag Archives: roberta martin

Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters

Various Artists Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters The Sirens (release date: July 11, 2016) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Those who think traditional gospel music is dead, hapless victim of today’s P&W and urban AC influences in sacred music, The Sirens’ new release, Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters, is proof that the music of Thomas Dorsey and Roberta Martin is as alive and bracing as ever. On August 20, 2015, The Sirens Records owner Steven B. Dolins brought together a battery of the city’s leading keyboard artists and singers: Pastor Bryant Jones, Richard Gibbs, Elsa Harris, Lavelle Lacy, ...

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RIP: Professor Alfred E. Miller – “One of the First – One of the Last”

ONE OF THE FIRST – ONE OF THE LAST Professor Alfred E. Miller (1927-2015) From Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound and The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Excepting pioneer COGIC keyboard artists Arizona Dranes and Elder Charles Beck, Alfred E. Miller was the first pianist on records to play in the modern gospel style. In fact, since he drew his inspiration from Roberta Martin, who more or less invented things, traveling very far from where Dranes and Beck had landed, Miller has a real claim to being the first on record, since Martin herself wouldn’t record for at ...

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Pilgrim Travelers: Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957

Pilgrim Travelers Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-1957 Gospel Friend (release date: December 18, 2015) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Per Notini of Gospel Friend has developed a handsome catalog of well-produced collections of classic gospel music that covers quartet, choir, and piano-led groups alike. His latest production, Gospel Boogie – Rare Recordings 1946-57, spotlights one of the top hit makers during gospel’s golden age: the Pilgrim Travelers. What is most striking about this 27-selection retrospective is how it aurally captures the California quartet as it altered its sound to keep up with the musical times, but without diluting one ounce of ...

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Only A Look – Ronald L. Greer (book)

Only A Look Ronald L. Greer Westbow Press (231 pages) www.rongreerbooks.com By Bob Marovich It seems odd, at least at first glance, that in the more than forty years since the death of Roberta Martin, one of the most important pioneers of modern gospel music, nobody has written a book about her. Let me clarify: Irene V. Jackson’s impressive dissertation had been for decades the only full-length treatment of Martin, but it is difficult to come by and not for sale.  We’ll Understand It Better By and By, edited by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, dedicates an entire section to Martin, ...

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Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams

Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams Marion Williams Spirit Feel/Shanachie www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich If you thought you’d heard everything Marion Williams recorded, alone or with the Ward Singers or Stars of Faith, think again. In addition to the thirteen hand-picked solo tracks by Williams’s longtime friend and producer, Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound, The Fan Who Knew Too Much), Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams features thirteen previously unreleased tracks. One of the unreleased gems showcases Williams with the Ward Singers at the 1957 Newport Folk Festival.  The cuts span the years 1957 to 1993.  Heilbut’s extensive ...

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Historic Gospel TV Program Jubilee Showcase Needs Your Help

By Bob Marovich From 1963 to 1984, the Emmy Award-winning television program Jubilee Showcase brought the nation’s greatest gospel singers and groups into living rooms throughout Chicagoland. Every Sunday morning, host Sid Ordower treated viewers to performances by such stalwarts as the Caravans, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Norfleet Brothers, Andrae’ Crouch, Jessy Dixon, the Staple Singers, and the Barrett Sisters. The show featured pioneering gospel performers such as Roberta Martin and Thomas Dorsey. There were many gospel greats whose taped appearance on Jubilee Showcase represents the only video footage of their live performances. Jubilee Showcase was the longest-running ...

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Mahalia Jackson Story to Hit the Silver Screen

From a press release: Bill Duke (left) brings his years of talent and experience to direct and executive produce The Mahalia Jackson Story, a music biopic chronicling the life of the woman who rose from poverty and obscurity to become the world’s greatest gospel singer and a music icon and legend. “Getting her story to the screen has been a passion project of mine for many years,” said Duke, who has more than 60 features, TV shows, and TV movies to his credit. The Mahalia Jackson Story was written by Ruth L Ratny, based on Just Mahalia Baby, Jackson’s seminal ...

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