Tag Archives: thompson community singers

Elsa Harris – I Thank God

Elsa Harris I Thank God The Sirens (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music and, in many respects, it’s also the home of the genre’s most ardent preservation efforts. In addition to the forthcoming National Museum of Gospel Music, the vitality of traditional gospel in the Windy City can be heard on veteran gospel artist Elsa Harris’s mostly instrumental CD, I Thank God. Harris’s piano proclivities, forged in the practice room as well as the church, recalls the jauntiness of traditional gospel, a distinctive sound too often obscured in the wake ...

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The Tommies Reunion (Live)

The Tommies Reunion Seven Legend Group / JMG Entertainment / Tyscot Records (release date: February 22, 2019) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich At their apex, Chicago’s Thompson Community Singers—known affectionately as the Tommies—were one of the most emulated gospel choirs in the country. Music ministers couldn’t wait for the next Tommies album to hit record stores so they could buy it and glean new gems to teach their own choirs. Having just surpassed the seventieth anniversary of their formation by the late Reverend Milton Brunson, the Tommies are back with their first new album in a decade. The Tommies Reunion choir ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 13, 2018

“He Worked It Out” The Tommies Reunion Tyscot Records (release date: October 26, 2018) www.tommiesreunion.com By Bob Marovich Darius Brooks, Percy Bady, and a hand-picked group of key members of the Thompson Community Singers from its fifteen-year reign as one of the most influential gospel choirs in America (1982-1997) come together for “He Worked It Out.” Short, simple, and to the point, “He Worked It Out” is the “it’s already done” message bathed in characteristically animated Tommies harmonies, a muscular brass section led by Lloyd Barry, and a rhythmic swagger to catch the attention of those who weren’t even born ...

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“It Is Possible” – Jeanetta Williams

“It Is Possible” Jeanetta Williams (independent release 2014) For information: mdwil48@gmail.com By Bob Marovich If you are a gospel choir enthusiast, you know Jeanetta “Songbird” Williams from her solo turns as a member of the Thompson Community Singers. A few years ago, Williams gathered together friends and family to be her background singers on “It Is Possible,” a recording of her own composition. The singer offers a raw and genuine treatment to this simple, inspirational contemporary gospel song with references to Philippians 4:13. The melodic hook in the title verse hearkens back to the Hawkins style. A radio edit comprised of the best parts ...

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Conversations with the Gospel Legends: Elsa Harris

Our guest on the most recent episode of Conversations with the Gospel Legends was Elsa Harris, accompanist for the Thompson Community Singers and an all-around amazing musician. One of Chicago’s true jewels! On the Reverend Harold Bailey’s PCC Network, Mr. Clarence McMillon, director. Conversations with the Gospel Legends with Bob Marovich. Gospel Legend, Elsa Harris. from PCC Studio on Vimeo.

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Ruth La’Ontra – I Got You

Ruth La’Ontra I Got You ALJR Music Group/Tyscot Records (release date: September 22, 2017) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich To the best of my recollection, the last time a Ruth Jones was in gospel music, she was a teenager singing with Sallie Martin. Finding it difficult to keep boy-crazy Ruth in check, Sallie returned her to her mother. Ruth later resurfaced as a solo artist, better known as the Queen of the Blues Dinah Washington. The new Ruth Jones goes by Ruth La’Ontra. On I Got You, the live follow-up to her debut release, So Good, Ruth showcases an instantly appealing gospel voice that ...

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Myron Butler & Levi – On Purpose

Myron Butler & Levi On Purpose Motown Gospel (release date: June 10, 2016) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Like Kurt Carr, Myron Butler has carved out a niche for himself in the popular Praise & Worship category of black sacred music. His albums offer praise teams a bounty of songs to digest just as the Thompson Community Singers, a group whose work Butler absorbed as intently as that of Thomas Whitfield, offered directors new gems to teach their church choirs. It’s no surprise, then, that energetic P&W cuts predominate on Butler’s new album, On Purpose, which debuted atop the Billboard gospel ...

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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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JGM Pick of the Week: November 23, 2015

“He’s Been Good” Dr. A. Edward Davis Jr. & St. John Mass Choir (feat. Omar Kane) Pure Sound Music Group (release date: September 22, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/draedwarddavisjr With “He’s Been Good,” the St. John Mass Choir echoes the rousing gospel choirs of Chicago’s Fellowship M.B., Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer, and Christian Tabernacle churches, and the famed Thompson Community Singers. A simple, repeated expression of gratitude for blessings bestowed is buoyed by hand-clapping, foot-tapping spiritual enthusiasm—direct, rhythmic, compelling, and timeless—that is as much a trademark of the Chicago gospel choir as marching up the middle aisle in colorful robes. In 2017, the ...

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