Tag Archives: Kenneth Morris

Gail Stewart & Prayz4 – s/t

Gail Stewart & Prayz4 Self-titled Independent (release date: July 12, 2017) By Robert M. Marovich What is immediately evident about the self-titled CD by the Texas-based family gospel group Gail Stewart & Prayz4 is its emphasis on modernizing traditional hymns and gospels. For example, the group gives the nineteenth-century hymn “I Need Thee” a mid-tempo R&B treatment, complete with bongos and snarling guitar, while Gail’s breathy soprano directs the rest of the singers toward a bluesy vamp. “Where He Leads Me” bathes the basic premise of the original hymn in a cornucopia of sounds, melodies, and new lyrics sufficient to ...

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Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (106 minutes, dir. Kenny Leon, 2021) www.mylifetime.com By Robert M. Marovich Lifetime did not ask me to review Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, but since a few individuals have inquired as to my thoughts on the biopic, I thought I’d post them here. First, I commend executive producer Robin Roberts, director-actor Kenny Leon, the late writer Bettina Gilois, and the rest of the team for getting gospel singer Mahalia Jackson’s story produced at last. Several attempts over more than a decade to bring Mahalia’s story to the screen have, with this exception, failed for various reasons. The ...

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Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph – Keep on Running

Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph Keep On Running Sharp Records (release date: May 23, 2019) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich With notable exceptions (e.g., Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All Stars), bass voices in gospel quartet have been gone for quite a while. That’s why it’s a delight to even hear a low baritone voice in a quartet. That’s what you get with Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph. Keep on Running is the latest CD from the New Boyz of Triumph, a group that hails from Talladega, Alabama. Besides Holland, members are Wesley Haley, the ...

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The Golden Bells – Thank You

The Golden Bells Thank You www.TheGoldenBells.com By Bob Marovich Much of Thank You, the latest full-length CD release by the Golden Bells of Lexington, Mississippi, is a refashioning of traditional gospel staples into the modern quartet style. Even when the songs are newly-composed and the music meets today’s gospel quartet standards, they retain the old church character in their lyric content. For example, on “Say Something Good,” the Golden Bells prefer to turn the other cheek to their haters, but by reviving some of grandma’s well-worn words of wisdom (“What goes around comes back again”), the group confirms the wisdom ...

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Funmilayo Ngozi – Unconstrained

Funmilayo Ngozi Unconstrained Unconstrained Music (2015) www.funmilayongozi.com By Bob Marovich A cursory look at Nigerian singer Funmilayo Ngozi’s name might suggest that her music is steeped in the African gospel tradition. In actuality, Ngozi lives in Augusta, Georgia, and studied and is a music educator in the U.S.  She served as a background vocalist on Trey McLaughlin & Sounds of Zamar’s Limitless album and the Beulah Grove Baptist Church’s Live at the Grove CD. Ngozi’s debut solo album, Unconstrained, is true to its title in more ways than one.  Although the title refers to unfettered worship and praise, the songs are ...

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The Supreme Angels – The Next Level of the Legacy

The Supreme Angels The Next Level of the Legacy Raymarkable Music (release date: March 10, 2015) By Bob Marovich The Supreme Angels are among the quartets that have managed to remain active on the gospel highway, albeit with personnel changes, for more than a half century. Released this week, The Next Level of the Legacy is their newest, and appropriately titled, album. Appropriately titled because it signals the group’s commitment to keep singing in a post-Howard “Slim” Hunt milieu. The passing of Hunt, as well as of Robert “Sugar” Hightower and Al Dent over the course of five years, could ...

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Minister C.L. Johnson – Favor

Minister C.L. Johnson Favor Doowgam Records (2011) http://wreg.weebly.com/index.html By Bob Marovich Given Minister Craig L. Johnson’s career as a member of several gospel quartets, most notably the Pilgrim Wonders of Toledo, the Revelations of Cincinnati and, most recently, his reformation of the Flint Cavaliers, it’s not surprising his solo album, Favor, sounds more like a quartet album. Johnson’s background vocalists are male and female, but they support him like a male quartet. Favor’s strongest selection is “Havin’ Church,” a clever song that is also the title track of the Flint Cavaliers 2013 album for Low Rush/Grammercy. Here, Johnson joins forces with ...

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