Tag Archives: savoy records

“Wait” – Kevan Peabody

“Wait” Kevan Peabody Twinkem Productions (release date: October 16, 2020) www.twinkemp.com By Robert M. Marovich Taking Proverbs 3:5-6 in part for his text, veteran gospel singer Kevan Peabody implores listeners on “Wait” not to despair but to trust and “wait on the Lord.” To a traditional-flavored but sonically robust arrangement featuring piano and warbling organ, Peabody croons his declarations in a mellow tenor peppered by blues notes. “Trust and never doubt,” he sings, “God will always bring you out.” The song, written by Steven Roberts, has the feel of a church solo augmented by a full studio backing. Bay Area ...

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JGM’s Best CDs, Singles and Historic Reissues of 2020

By Bob Marovich As is our custom for this time of year, the Journal of Gospel Music presents its “best of” lists in the category of CDs, songs, and historical releases. The recordings were not chosen as “best of” based on sales, chart status, promotion, voting, fan popularity, number of likes or retweets, committee decisions, throwing darts, reading tea leaves, arm twisting, or anything other than 1) JGM was serviced with the music for review either on its own platform or for review in another journal or publication, and 2) JGM believes they best represented gospel/sacred music in 2020 in ...

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RIP: Ora Watkins-Jones (Southwest Michigan State Choir of COGIC)

By Robert M. Marovich Marcel West of Detroit informed JGM of the passing of Mother Ora Watkins-Jones, stalwart lead vocalist for the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ, under the direction of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Of a choir with more than 100 members, a few names stood out from the pack. Rose Marie Rimson-Brown. LaBarbara Whitehead. Vanessa Bell Armstrong. The Clark Sisters. Donald Vails. And Ora Watkins-Jones. Mother Watkins-Jones is perhaps best known for her vocal contribution, with Rimson-Brown (who passed away earlier this year), on the Southwest Michigan State Choir’s first radio hit, ...

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RIP: Troy Sneed, gospel singer, recording artist, and record company owner

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn from social media posts by Gayle Lecus and Kurt Carr that gospel’s Troy Sneed has passed away. Reports indicate his passing was from contracting COVID-19. Here is a quick bio on Sneed from the Malaco Music Group website: Troy Sneed and country music icon Roy Acuff shared similar back stories. Both grew up in the South. Both aspired to be professional athletes. For Sneed, it was football; for Acuff, it was baseball. The pro careers of both men were halted by injury or illness. Each turned to music ...

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RIP: Dr. Jonathan Greer II, Organist, Choir Director, Church Leader

By Bob Marovich Dennis Bines informed the Journal of Gospel Music that Dr. Jonathan Greer II passed away on Saturday, August 31, 2019. Home going arrangements will be announced as soon as they are known. Meanwhile, here is a brief bio on Dr. Greer, written by me for the Malaco Music Group website and approved by the late Dr. Greer: A gospel organist, choir director and church leader, Dr. Jonathan Greer II was born June 4, 1941, to Bishop Jonathan Greer Sr. and Vanilla “Dear” Thompson. The young Jonathan grew up in his father’s Chicago church, Light of the World ...

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RIP: Tessie Hill, Gospel Singer

Marcel West of Detroit, Michigan, informed the Journal of Gospel Music that gospel singer Tessie Hill-Ackey passed away on July 28, 2019. Born October 9, 1934, in Monroe, Georgia, Madame Hill migrated at a young age to Detroit, Michigan. She later became lead vocalist of the choir at the church shepherded by her husband, the late Pastor Lonnie Hill. The Original Church of God in Christ Choir, which for a time included a young Rance Allen on guitar, made albums for Savoy Records during the 1960s. Hill’s vivacious, expressive voice led many of the choir’s selections. Hill had a solo ...

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Roberta Martin Singers: 1947-1962

Roberta Martin Singers Didn’t It Rain / Only a Look / The Old Ship of Zion: 1947-1962 Fremeaux & Associes (release date: February 2019) www.fremeaux.com By Bob Marovich Roberta Martin is to today’s enthusiasts of gospel music what writers like James Joyce and Henry James are to today’s enthusiasts of literature: someone whose work is considered the gold standard, but few take the time to explore the wonderment of their artistic creations. Fremeaux & Associes in France has made it easier to indulge in the work of Roberta Martin and her Roberta Martin Singers. Offering 72 tracks and a 24-page ...

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Who was Harvey?

The Dali-esque artist who painted nearly 200 Savoy Records album covers during the 1960s–the majority for the label’s gospel series–and signed his work “Harvey” with no surname, has been somewhat of a mystery to record collectors. On David Peterkofsky’s For Keeps podcast, Robbie Rogers shines a light on who Harvey was and what the artist’s work says about his life and times. The enigmatic artist is the basis of Rogers’ master’s thesis, which he is currently working on at Baylor University. He shares some of his findings on the fascinating podcast below.

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Miami Mass Choir – Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center

Miami Mass Choir Miami Mass Choir Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center MaJo Records (release date: December 9, 2016) Available from online music retail outlets By Bob Marovich Having fun while worshiping is the overall impression one gets listening to Miami Mass Choir Live at the Adrienne Arsht Center, the choir’s latest full-length release in some fifteen years. And I don’t mean frivolous fun, but a bouncy joie de vivre from enjoying the worship experience. In other words, no new age religion, no extended moments of quiet rapture, no overly complex arrangements, no whispering all over the place.  It’s about extroverted ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “I Can Go to God in Prayer” – Calvin Bridges

Calvin Bridges as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich Looking back, I think God set me up to be in gospel music. In the neighborhood where I grew up, on the West Side of Chicago, there was the Holloway Community Choir. I lived around the corner from them. I would go to their monthly musicals and be in such awe. My mom was a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church, where Thomas Dorsey served as minister of music. Every first Sunday, she would take me to communion and to hear the choir. I watched all the pomp and circumstance, the procession, Professor ...

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