Ladies Of Gospel - Precious Memories: Favorites From Gospel's Women Of Song
This compilation of recordings by 11 full-on gospel divas is a joy, if a bit of a surprise from Peacock Records, bastion of male artists such as The Dixie Hummingbirds and Mighty Clouds of Joy. Among many strengths, its biggest is in matching each of gospel's central styles with a singer more than capable of doing it justice--and in some instances having developed it to begin with. Hence Inez Andrews kicks off with the rock-steady 1973 hit "Lord, Don't Move the Mountain" (proving Mahalia Jackson's charge that "rock & roll was stolen out of the sanctified church"). Then Ms. Jackson's own brand of dignified burn gets spotlighted with "The Upper Room," before being segued into the tempered, Wurlitzer bounce of Madame Edna Gallmon Cooke's "At the Gate," and so on. Other highlights are Bessie Griffin's unyielding spirit-feel hollering on "The Old Rugged Cross," and "I Won't Let Go," a roaring ode to Satan-bashing from Dorothy Love Coates. Every track is epiphanous, and the only quibble you could maybe have with Precious Memories is the inexplicable absence of Marion Williams. Otherwise a soul-satisfying meal, with plenty of gravy. --Steve Lafreniere
The Detroit-born and -bred Winans brothers Marvin, Carvin, Michael, and Ronald didn't so much bridge as hop over the gap between old-school traditional and new-school contemporary gospel, often taking heat for blurring the lines between the sacred and secular worlds. While some of their work is out of print, or difficult to find, the hour-plus Light Years collection has some of the grooviest, funkiest God-praising tunes from their early-'80s albums Introducing the Winans, Long Time Comin', and Tomorrow. All but one of these bass-laden tracks have the songsmith Reverend Marvin in its favor, and range from tender ("Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay") to Stevie Wonder-inspired R&B ("Restoration") to good-time heavy-handed funk ("If I Labor"). "Tomorrow," penned by Carvin and his sister Deborah, is perhaps not only the group's signature song, but the family's theme prior to the rise of their careers. --Paige La Grone
Format: Music CD, First Lite Records. Soul music CD release from Williams Sisters with the album Live on the East Coast. Released on the label First Lite Records. Gospel music CD. This hard to find pre-owned music CD is fully guaranteed.
Founded in Nashville in the 1940s as a young, black gospel group, the Fairfield Four toured extensively and performed live on the radio. With the dropping-off of live radio programs in 1950, several group members went on to form the Skylarks, and then finally disbanded. Through the efforts of Doug Seroff, specialist in black gospel music, the group reunited in a moving performance in Birmingham, AL in 1980. Since then the National Endowment for the Arts named them National Heritage Fellows. 11 gospel songs: "Tree of Level," "My God Called Me this Morning," "Children Go Where I Send Thee," "Born Again," "Keep Me Near The Cross," "Roll Jordan Roll," the title tune, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Last Month of the Year," "How I Got Over" and "Dig A Little Deeper." This is rich, authentic stuff, and a gift to us from an incredible, deeply spiritual group of men.