Tag Archives: Texas

Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees – Jesus Is All I Need (Live)

Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees Jesus Is All I Need Sharp Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Zion Jubilees remain the flagship artist for Sharp Records. The quartet’s new CD, Jesus Is All I Need, recorded live in the group’s hometown of Bryan, Texas, proves there is still power in the traditional gospel quartet sound. Since its founding as the Reed Brothers in the late 1950s, the Zion Jubilees has dished out wooden church wisdom steeped in sweet harmonies and hard gospel lead singing. Making records for Stan Lewis’s Shreveport-based Jewel Records in the 1970s, the group ...

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Treva – I Am Praise

Treva I Am Praise (EP) chezmusique (2014) www.TrevaJones.com By Bob Marovich Treva Jones did it the right way. The Houston, Texas, vocalist released a five-track EP that showcases the many shades of her vocal talent on songs written by gifted songwriters such as V. Michael McKay and the late O’Landa Draper.  She hired Sanchez Harley as a producer, and she stayed fairly true to one style of gospel (in her case, traditional) instead of wandering around in an effort to please everyone. Treva demonstrates vocal versatility on I Am Praise.  The opening cut, “There’s a Blessing,” is a new song ...

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“He’ll Understand” – Joyce Barrett

“He’ll Understand” Joyce Barrett Sharper Brothers (2016) www.sharpradiogospelsuperfest.com Joyce Barrett of Houston, Texas, does some fine old-school singing on “He’ll Understand,” which on the CD single is credited to other writers, but presumably for the arrangement—the song is properly attributed to longtime National Baptist Convention music department leader Lucie Eddie Campbell, who wrote it in 1933. Backed by a pumping band and a gospel quartet (with Roy Reed as executive producer of the single, could the BGVs be labelmates the Zion Jubilees?), Barrett gives the song an uptempo, quartet style treatment. She repeats the “Oh, when I come to the end ...

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“Serve” – The Divine Souls

“Serve” The Divine Souls MCI Music Group Radio servicing: Darrell Jay Jones (darrell@darrelljayjones.com) The message on “Serve” is uncomplicated and well-trodden—the Divine Souls are so grateful for God’s unchanging hands that they are 100 percent committed to serving Him. It’s the soulful vocalizing, especially by the lead singer, Michael Bembo, which sells the single.  The song’s long drawl of an arrangement, the perpetually warbling organ, and the quartet’s dropping to a whisper by the conclusion, evoke the traditional gospel soul style of artists such as the Gospel Four and the Pilgrim Jubilees. From El Paso, Texas, the Divine Souls were ...

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Dr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise: Speak to My Heart

Dr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise Speak to My Heart Antioch Fellowship MBC (release date: January 15, 2016) www.afmbc.org By Bob Marovich Big churches need big choirs, and big choirs need a big sound to fill a big church. The Voices of Praise choir envelops the 54,000 square-foot Worship Center of the Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—a state where big is boss—with its thunderous timbre. That, and a contemporary flourish with no small amount of traditional flair. The choir’s self-produced debut album, Speak to My Heart, offers up examples of their ...

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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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“Not That Easy” – Trinity Dawson

“Not That Easy” Trinity Dawson www.trinitydawsonmusic.com Strength against adversity is the theme of Trinity Dawson’s single, “Not That Easy.” Amidst a life filled with twists and turns and problems that “look ten feet tall,” Dawson reaches within to remember that he has heavenly help. The thumping drums, sounding like an accelerated heartbeat, accentuate the intensity of his emotions. The song could well be autobiographical. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trinity Dawson earned a full scholarship to the University of Toledo, where he was a star running back. In his junior year, Dawson suffered a serious injury.  When the NFL was no ...

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The Jones Family Singers – Live from Mt. Zion

The Jones Family Singers Live from Mt. Zion Arts + Labor (2015) www.thejonesfamilysingers.com By Bob Marovich At one point in Live from Mt. Zion, Alexis Jones, the force of nature who is the Jones Family Singers’ primary lead vocalist, says the group gets asked why they don’t sing rock and roll. Oh but we do, she explains. “I can rock in Jesus and I can rooolllll in the Holy Ghost!” Spiritual rocking, rolling, swaying, and dancing are compulsory accompaniments to the Jones Family Singers’ devotional repertory—from the group, the live audience, and the at-home listener. And for good reason. Live ...

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Michael Corcoran on Washington Phillips and the “Manzarene”

Historian and journalist Michael Corcoran uncovered a myriad of hitherto unknown facts about Texas pianist and Church of God in Christ member Arizona Dranes.  Those findings were revealed in He Is My Story (Tompkins Square), a resplendent extended essay that accompanied a reissue of Dranes’s 1920s-era recorded material.  Dranes is often cited as gospel music’s first recording artist. By Jove, Michael Corcoran’s done it again, this time for another largely forgotten but no less important Texas musician, Columbia recording artist Washington Phillips. Here is a link to Corcoran’s article from Arts + Labor. http://www.artslabormagazine.com/juneteenth-wash-phillips-son-of-slaves-makes-music-for-the-ages

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J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

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