Quartet

“I’ll Meet You” – Canton Spirituals

“I’ll Meet You” Canton Spirituals Malaco Music Group (2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich Dr. Harvey Watkins Jr. and the Canton Spirituals send their love in “I’ll Meet You,” because nobody knows the day or the hour when it will be too late to say a final goodbye. On the other hand, if they don’t get a chance to say farewell, they hope to see you “on the other shore.” That’s the point. The song advises the listener to make it to the Pearly Gates by walking the straight and narrow path. “And if you love everybody, I’m gonna meet ...

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God’s Children – It’s So Amazing

God’s Children It’s So Amazing Independent (2018) https://www.facebook.com/godschildrenmemphis By Robert M. Marovich On It’s So Amazing, the Memphis, Tennessee-based Shirika “Re Re” Flowers and God’s Children (and also Re Re’s eldest children), run through a battery of gospel quartet-style songs, rendered with a churchy vibe and with frequent vamps for evangelical emphasis. Although the album notes do not include the names of specific lead singers for each of the album’s ten tracks, aurally it appears as if every member of the troupe has a chance to solo at least once. Young solo voices are particularly audible on “It Was Jesus,” ...

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Various Artists – Quartet is in My DNA

Various Artists Quartet is in My DNA 4 Winds / Malaco Music Group (release date: September 10, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich On Quartet is in My DNA, the brainchild of Roy Ladson of Roy and Revelation, Paul Porter hosts a passel of current-day gospel singers who dust off classic songs by Ladson’s favorite gospel artists for a down-home, spirit-filled quartet program. All but Porter and Joseph Wooden lead an A and B selection on this project. Nevertheless, Wooden gets to lead off, and he does so with aplomb on the Soul Stirrers’ “Resting Easy,” complete with dynamic repetitive ...

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Award-Winning Quartet Documentary “How They Got Over” Screening Around the U.S.

From a press release (NOTE: JGM’s Bob Marovich appears in the film): How They Got Over tells the story of how Black gospel quartet music became a primary source of what would be known as rock and roll, and in the process helped to break down racial walls in mid-twentieth century America. Beginning in the 1920s, Black singers across the country took to the highways as the new technology of radio and records made it possible to reach a wider audience. Intense competition brought new ways to entertain, first with guitars, later with full bands, then with a performance style ...

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Various Artists – Sacred Soul of North Carolina

Various ArtistsSacred Soul of North CarolinaMusic Maker Foundation / Bible & Tire (release date: October 15, 2021)https://biglegalmessrecords.com/collections/bible-tire By Robert M. Marovich Just before the pandemic shut down the world, Alice Vines of the Glorifying Vines Sisters of Farmville, North Carolina (crate diggers will know their singles on Pinewood and Sound Hut), gathered ten other local artists in the small town of Fountain, northwest of Greenville. Reminiscent of record producer Ralph Peer’s 1927 Bristol, Tennessee, sessions, the groups came to Fountain prepared to record. In this case, it was Tim Duffy’s Music Maker Foundation and Bruce Watson’s Bible & Tire, not ...

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Ruth Black and the Harmonettes – He Woke Me

Ruth Black and the Harmonettes He Woke Me Raymarkable Music, Inc. (release date: August 13, 2021) www.raymarkablemusic.net By Robert M. Marovich Production by Ray Braswell Jr. at his Raymarkable Studios in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is a seal of quality for any quartet project, as it for the latest Braswell-produced CD, Ruth Black and the Harmonettes’ He Woke Me. The five-member female quartet from Alexander City, Alabama, offer ten quintessentially deep southern soul quartet selections. The album toggles between high-energy songs like “Weeping May Endure” (where the group bears an aural resemblance to the Ingramettes) and “I Know I’m Blessed;” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 30, 2021

“UWait2021” Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry From the Barnyard Records CD Nothing Shall Separate (release date: May 28, 2021) www.BarnYardRecordsllc.com/ By Robert M. Marovich What immediately struck me about “UWait2021” was not its bouncy tempo, its spirited vamp, or its earnest message of encouragement—all important—but the fact that Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry has that rarest of rarities: a bass singer. Said bass singer adds a nice touch, too. Bring bass singers back to quartet! The song was originally released as “U Wait” on the quartet’s self-titled 2008 album. Naturally, since things do not seem to ...

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“Better” – Pastor Skylar Patterson & Predestined (feat. Minister Lisa Knowles Smith)

“Better”Pastor Skylar Patterson & PredestinedFeat. Minister Lisa Knowles SmithFrom the CD Testify (release date: September 25, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Although the group’s name suggests a male-led small choir that sings contemporary gospel, Pastor Skylar Patterson & Predestined is a quartet with meaty old-school harmonies and a wicked kick drum anchoring the rhythm section. Their single, “Better,” came out last fall but is still, and probably always will be, relevant. Its message of hope and encouragement in the face of trials is amped up by featured vocalist and force of nature Lisa Knowles Smith. Not only does Smith help ...

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“Be With Me” – Pastor Darren A. Farmer Sr.

“Be With Me” Pastor Darren A. Farmer Sr. From Pastor Darren Farmer presents The Upper Room Apostolic Church Experience, Volume 3 By Robert M. Marovich Pastor Darren A. Farmer Sr., leader of the Upper Room Apostolic Cathedral prefaces “Be With Me” by dedicating it to the late Jason Tomlinson, whose words of wisdom informed the lyrics. The song encourages the discouraged by reminding them that God’s promise to be with us all the time has no expiration date. With southern-fried guitar licks, a hand-patting rhythm, and vocal harmonies supporting Farmer’s lead singing, “Be With Me” has all the elements of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 19, 2021

“I’d Rather Have Jesus” True Believers Malaco Music Group / 4 Winds (release date: June 23, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich From the opening vocal harmony riff and the incessant piano triplets to the ultra-soulful lead vocals by Castro Coleman, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” sounds like a 1960s soul record but it is as new as a minute ago. Lyrically, the song by the True Believers quartet evokes the 1922 hymn with the same title, about forsaking the riches of the world for the wealth of eternity. The twist is that Coleman references the modern era when he describes ...

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