What I'm Listening To...

Triple Take Tuesday: Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up

What can I say about Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up, that hasn't been said before?... not much with the exception that what makes this song works and moves anyone who hears it is the lyrical and musical simplicity of it (a hint to those up and coming and/or established gospel artists) . It also doesn't help that you have a composer such as John Askew (composer of Jonathan Greer's He's Worthy) along with Thomas Whitfield putting his "Midas" touch on a song that continues to be a mainstay in churches everywhere nearly 30 decades later.

Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up first was recorded (as far as I'm aware of) by Thomas Whitfield and The Thomas Whitfield Company out of Detroit, MI, on their 1986 release, I'm Encouraged on the Sound of Gospel label. The song became a radio favorite and also ushered in a new era of contemporary gospel music way before it's time. Once you heard that the simple piano chord being played, followed by the electric guitar, all before the choir chimed in, you knew your soul was about to receive a blessing.

Just when you thought no one else could minister the song as well,Albert S. Hadley and his group, The New Orleans Gospel Soul Children proves you wrong. With the assistance of Whitfield on their 1986, release Gospel Soul Children of New Orleans, on Gospel Fame, the group of young people sung it with so much conviction. Fast forward nearly twenty years later and newcomer Earnest Pugh debuts nationally with this song as his first single. Does he add anything extra to it, nope because the song doesn't need it, it's just as fresh as when Whitfield and his group first recorded it. This just goes to show that this song will be around for many more years to come.

You can listen to the songs mentioned by clicking on the album covers. Here's an audio of Earnest Pugh singing Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up, from his debut album:

What You May Have Missed: George Searight & Royal Priesthood

Let's go back in time for a moment... remember being excited to get the latest album by John P. Kee, Edwin Hawkins, Thomas Whitfield, ect. when their albums hit stores? You could expect to get your money's worth and not only that, but be blessed by the entire album. Now fast forward to the present... in a day where the gospel music genre is very saturated with so many artists and albums, that excitement has kind of faded. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm not saying by any means that being excited about hearing the good news in the form of music is not as exciting, but it's just what's being released nowadays. Very recently Tye Tribbett & G.A.'s latest release, Stand Out, had many people excited about purchasing their upcoming release, which was great, but other than his release, how many albums were being awaited with such anticipation this year so far?

On a message board I visit from time-to-time, Learngospelmusic.com, this discussion comes up alot. It seems right now, overall, gospel music is stagnate. I don't know if it's rush job releases being pushed by record companies, the lack of biblically sound lyrics, the music, ect. but unfortunately that's just the state where gospel music is for now. Will it become better, I'm very hopeful it will soon. In the meantime, I've talked with others who are taking this time to branch out and take a chance on independent artists, and listening and/or purchasing older music versus newer music because in their opinion it's a lot better than what's being released nowadays (especially through the major labels). I know personally, I've been buying older music than newer music for a few reasons, so this caused me to think of another feature to add to the blog, albums you may have missed. So I'll try to write some reviews to the best of my ability (lol) and hopefully for those who haven't bought the albums mentioned, that will encourage them to purchase the albums (most which can be found new or used on online music stores for a reasonable price).

This week's album you may have missed is Reverend George Searight & Royal Priesthood's 1996 self-titled debut release on Proclaim Records. Well known for those in live on the east coast, George Searight is the pastor of Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The album starts out with Clay Bogan III's arrangement of Amazing Grace. I have to admit it's the best arrangement of the hymn of Amazing Grace I've ever heard. The track is a fast paced song, the first verse of the song was turned into a catchy chorus, followed by an even catchier vamp. Clay Bogan III, who's written for Hezekiah Walker & LFCC (remember I Will Go In Jesus Name?) and others, put in some time with this album, his work can be found all over this album as arranger, composer, musician, and producer. Bogan also wrote Stand Still, another fast paced song, with that infamous Brooklyn gospel sound. Another track that moved me was Great Is The Name penned by Milton Ruffin. The lyrics speak of finding everything that you'll even need in Jesus. The only thing about the song is that I wished it could have been longer with the reprise included. Worthy of Praise, penned by Rany McNeil, was another standout track from this release. Overall the album doesn't disappoint, definitely worth giving a second look if you haven't purchased this album or have listened to it for awhile.

If you can't find this album in stores, you should be able to purchase this and other releases of theirs directly through their church. Visit their website for further information.


Amazing Grace
Take It To The Master
Look At The Cross
Great Is The Name
Great Is The Name (Reprise)
Stand Still
Everything To God In Prayer
Everything To God In Prayer (Reprise)
I Know My Redeemer
Worthy Of Praise
Worship Him
We Give You The Praise

Listen to a few songs from this album:

Double Take Tuesday: We've Got A Right

The year was 1999 when a small group out of Chicago, IL by the name of New Direction made a big mark on the gospel charts nationwide with their single, Worship Christ penned by Chicago's own Percy Gray, Jr. The song was released on their self-titled debut album on Word Entertainment. The young people in this group sung this with so much energy, which without it wouldn't have done two things; putting emphasis on what the song is about and inviting others to come to worship Christ. With the choir's energy and the track's infectious funky bass line played by Robert Smith, Jr., with the organ (Gerald Dandridge) and the guitar (Joe Woolfold) carrying the song, it's not a wonder this song stayed on the charts but also made it's way onto the popular WOW Gospel compilation series.

However, the song was originally recorded by another choir from Chicago, Tyrone Block and The Christ Tabernacle Combined Choirs on their 1993 release Rev. Milton Brunson Presents Tyrone Block and the Christ Tabernacle Combined Choirs. The song also went by another name, it was originally titled We've Got A Right (Lift Him Up). Whereas New Direction's version was laced with the organ and guitar, Block's version had the heavy sound of the brass instruments, which was very popular to hear in gospel music of the early 90's.

To listen to the songs, click on the album covers.


Raising Prayze

Luke 6:38

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken
together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same
measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

One of my favorite sites to visit to find out about anything gospel is Prayzehymn. The owner, J. Matthew Cobb, brings forth album reviews which are raw but very honest, and his wealth of infromation dealing with all things gospel is what keeps me going back. With that said, Prayzehymn is running a campaign to raise money for the site and your donations are welcome. Why should you give? Well, it takes money to run a website and hosts servers that stores the music that he also shares for our listening pleasure...and the cost can add up for quickly. So let's give what we can in support and raise the prayze :-) .

Old School Throwback Friday: Hezekiah Walker & LFCC

Like many who can recall their young days of listening to gospel music, remember first listening to it not only in the church, but in the car on Sunday mornings heading to and from church as well. My mom would always turn it to KTSU (Texas Southern University's radio station) and I'd hear the latest from The Richard Smallwood Singers, Rev. Milton GMWA Mass Choir, which pretty much ruled the gospel airwaves in the 80's. I loved those choirs whose songs I still love to listen to, but it wasn't until I heard Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Crusade Choir's "I'll Make It", that made my love of gospel music became what it is today.

Their songs were different in the sense that it had a more youthful sound to it, something I felt related more to me. Sad to say though, I never had the chance to purchase their first and second release, I'll Make It and Live In Washington: Oh, Lord We Praise You (both on the defunct label, Sweet Rain) at the time, but I still coudln't help but excited to hear their song when they came out. So I thought today I'd share with everyone a few of Hezekiah Walker & LFCC's earlier works as part of Old School Friday. It was hard to pick a tracks to share from each album because all of the songs are great IMHO, but hopefully you'll be blessed by these.

Hezekiah Walker & LFCC
You Must Be Born Again -1990
(click on album to listen)

Hezekiah Walker & LFCC
Spirit - 1987
(click on album to listen)

Still yearning for more music from Hezekiah Walker or more information about their albums then check out the following:

Hezekiah Walker Career Analysis
(courtesy of J. Matthew Cobb of Prayzehymn)

Hezekiah Walker Discography
(courtesy of J. Matthew Cobb of Prayzehymn)

Hezekiah Walker w/ Jeffrey White & National Mass Choir

I'll Make It video (from their debut album)
(courtesy of FreLi77 of Youtube)

Oh Lord, We Praise You video
(courtesy of Ccsweetstuff of Youtube)

What's to come tomorrow and next week: Raising Prayze, Ron Winans, New Direction, and more.

Double Take Tuesday: When I See Jesus

Ask someone what's one of the songs that they always hear being sung as a solo either at their church or when they visit other churches, and When I See Jesus may be one that comes to mind. Still sung in many churches, this 80's classic is one of my faves. The lyrics speak of the anticipation of seeing Jesus in heaven, a day I personally can't wait for. The song was penned by Douglas Miller and recorded on his 1981 release Recorded Live: Douglas Miller and The Texas Southeast State Choir (COGIC) with Mattie Moss M. Clark. The album was released on the Pearl Record Company and was also apart of The John Daniels Gospel Series. The song isn't overpowered with heavy instrumentation, as you'll hear it's just the organ and piano which is great, but Miller could have sung this song acapella and still did this song justice (I don't know who's on piano and organ, but the musicians listed on the album playing keyboards are Douglas Miller, Twinkie Clark, and Burt Cross).

Many are aware of Miller's version but may have forgotten that Eric McDaniel, along with The Bronx Mass Choir recorded this as well. McDaniel's arrangement can be found on his 1985 debut release, He Gave It To Me, on the G.T.S. (Gospel Talent Sounds) Records label. Still holding true to the original, there are two distinct differences that can be heard on this arrangement, McDaniel's tenor voice is a lot crisper than Miller's and there's the addition of drums, My only complaint is that I was ready to have church after this, would have been nice if a praise break would have been included towards the end of this track being that it was a live recording.

Did you like the song or do you have any other comments to add, please feel free to add them below in the comment section.

What's To Come... Raising The Prayze, Ron Winans, and more.


I combined Douglas Miller's recording of When I See Jesus Part 1 & Part 2 as one track. As always click on the album covers to listen to the songs mentioned. Also, I've added a link to the right of the blog that lists gospel albums I have. They're not all listed yet, but keep checking back to see what's updated. If you have a request or any suggestions let me know in the shoutbox or email me (click on the "write me" in my "About Me" section).

Old School Throwback Friday: Kim McFarland

(The following is a post I wrote a few years ago on the old blog with a few rewrites in between :-) )

So I had to do a Kim McFarland post, just had to. Ms. McFarland is blessed to have a such a beautiful voice to minister with. For those who haven't heard of her, she's featured on the song We Are One on Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago's 1988 debut We Are One (in which she co-wrote the title track with Whitman). She's also well known for singing with the late Rev. Milton Brunson in his famed choir, The Thompson Community Singers. I think the first time I heard her minister was when she led I Tried Him, I Know Him, (one of my all-time favorite songs...I know...I have alot of favorites, I can't help it).

New Life
Kim McFarland - 1994
(click on album to listen)

Nuthinbutgospel featured her song, New Life as one of the old school tracks some time ago, and I bought the album titled, New Life (released on Light Records) after hearing it. The title track, penned by Chris Anderson, has a wonderful message about having a new life in Jesus. Another track that brought back some memories was Yield Yourself (I had no idea she recorded that, because I used to get excited when I heard it on the radio back in the day), a track for those who like the stylings of Mary Mary may enjoy listening to. Other mentionable tracks on the album are He's Everything I Need and My Peace. All in all, McFarland's debut album won a place in my heart and onto my heavy rotation list as well.

Kim McFarland
Amazing - 1996
(click on album to listen)

So guess what...had to have her second one, Amazing. When I purchased, I didn't like it as much as her previous album...but I may have needed some time for it to grow on me. There's a medley with her singing the songs that she's well known for, We Are One (Walt Whitman and The Soul Children), For The Good of Them, I Tried Him, I Know Him, and In My Name (the last three listed she sung with Rev. Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Singers), but the two that stand out in my opinion are Amazing (which you can listen to here) and Intercession, written by the one and only V. Micheal McKay, that may be why I was blessed by Intercession, because McKay's a talented writer and composer.

So I pray that you all enjoy these offerings and let me know what you think about the albums in the comments. I pray everyone has a blessed weekend.

What's to come next week... Bishop Eric McDaniel, Ron Winans, and more.

Double Take Tuesday: The Good Shepherd

This week's double take song is The Good Shepherd penned by V. Michael McKay. The lyrics speak of Jesus being The Good Shepherd as referenced in John 10:11, loving and guiding us, never leaving us alone, always tending to our needs. The song was first recorded by the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir (GMWA) on their 1989 release, Live In St. Louis, Missouri on Savoy Records. The song is the first track on the album and starts out with an introduction from GMWA's founder, the late Rev. James Cleveland. The song is led by Hanq Neil who resides in Houston, Texas who has sung and played on various GMWA Mass and GMWA Men of Promise albums (I believe he even once released his own album some time ago). He also was once minister of music at Windsor Village UMC in Houston pastored by Kirbyjon Caldwell (where Kathy Taylor-Brown (who also leads a song on this album) and Lamar Campbell are ministers of music) and now plays for Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston. It's the choir however, that in my opinion that carry the song, the song just seems to come to life once the choir comes in.

Fast foward to 1995, Yolanda Adams records The Good Shepherd on her 1996 Grammy nominated release, More Than A Melody on the Verity label. Yolanda's version is somewhat slower than GMWA's version, but still stays true to that "churchy" sound that original recording had but with a jazzy overtone. What I liked personally about this song in terms of the music itself, were the inclusion of string arrangements in Adam's version, especially in the beginning of the song. It added a calmness to the song that marinated well with the lyrics.

Both versions offer their own mix which work, so there's not one that I perfer over the other. I would like to know which one you all like or how do you like the original, any comments are welcomed as always in the comment link below this post.


If you have any requests or suggestions let me know in the shoutbox to the right or you can always email me (there's a link to my email address in the "about me" column). To hear the songs just click on the album covers.

Richard Smallwood now available for download!!

There's alot of people nowadays trying to find gospel albums they listened to back in the day for sale on compact disc or available for purchase via Itunes, Walmart, ect. but finding out it's simply not available. That leaves some trying to remaster their own collections from lps and cassette tapes to digital and others who may not know how to do that longing to hear those songs again. Thankfully there's been some record labels doing just that like Sound of Gospel releasing alot of Mattie Moss Clark, Thomas Whitfield, Rev. Charles Nicks, The Clark Sisters to name a few onto compact discs (sometimes their "remastering" process is all that great and some songs are excluded from the cds). Now you can add The Richard Smallwood Singers collection to your list too.

Their first two releases The Richard Smallwood Singers (1982) Psalms (1984), both on Onyx International Records, distributed by Benson aren't available anymore (although Psalms was released on cd a few years ago) but the two albums under the Rejoice/Word label released under A&M Records, Textures (1987), and Vision (1988) are as digital download purchases (available on Itunes and Amazon). They were previously remastered and released onto compact discs years ago but are now no longer in print and impossible to find on cd (if you search hard enough, you'll find those albums for sale on vinyl still).

Recently there was also a release of a compilation album titled The Center of My Joy. The album included songs from The Richard Smallwood albums on Word: Textures, Vision, and Portrait. So there's many choices available to chose from. If there are other albums you would like to see released to cd, you can always contact the record label and let them know. If enough people generate enough interest, labels may just listen. Let me know of some gospel albums you would like to see remastered onto cd that haven't been in the comment section below.

Here's the track listing to Textures and Vision:

The Richard Smallwood Singers
Textures (1987)

1. We Can't Go On This Way
2. The Center Of My Joy
3. Shine Your Light
4. I've Come Too Far
5. Get On Board
6. Holy, Holy
7. Calvary
8. Hold On
9. Your Love Divine

The Richard Smallwood Singers
Vision (1988)

1. Vision
2. Renew Me
3. Be Faithful
4. You Better Mind
5. A Love So Strong
6. In This House
7. You Did It All
8. Power of God
9. The Glory of the Lord
10. The Lord's Prayer

What's coming up next?... Double Take Tuesday tomorrow (hints: the song has two (well actually three) Houston ties to it, song was written by V. Michael McKay (that's one Houstonian connection :-) ) If you have an idea of what the song maybe, let me know in the comment below. The Tye Tribbett & G.A. playlist is back up to listen to their new album, Standout in stores tomorrow, May 6, scroll down to listen; and as always have a blessed day.

Old School Friday: TM Mass Youth Choir

Hello to everyone, I pray everyone has been doing well. I've been a little under the weather for the past two days, but hopefully I'm feeling better by Monday. I wanted to write a little about the song and the artist featured today but didn't and for that I apologize. However I wanted to share with everyone a song from each of TM (Truth Ministry) Mass Youth Choir's albums:

* Rejoice In The Lord Always (There's Not A Friend, 1991 ),

* Rock of Ages (Send Your Anointing, 1993),

* He's Been Good (He's Been Good, 1997)