What I'm Listening To...

Digging Through The Crates: Georgia Mass Choir

Technically, I'm not digging through my crates on this one, being that I broke the needle on my record player, so I haven't been able to play any records for nearly two weeks. Even though I can't play my records, I've been playing those that I transferred to cd awhile back. One album that I've been spinning lately is Georgia Mass Choir's I'm Free released in 1986 on Savoy Records. With musicians and soloists such as James Bignon, Kenneth Paden, and to name a few, I knew I was set to hear a great album through and through. However it's one song that I can't stop putting on repeat, It's Yours For The Asking. Written by Jeff DavisR. Willis and Milton Biggham, this song with it's bass driven, drum laced beats, it's a song that will get you moving. The song is led by Lillie Scott Holloway, the choir rocks the song out from beginning to end. I hope the song is a blessing to you all.

**To listen to the song mentioned, click on the album cover**

What's New: Niyoki - Rest

**Press Release**

In 2006, D2G Records contemporary gospel and inspirational vocalist Niyoki (pronounced Nie-yo-kee), came on the gospel scene with her debut release, MY EVERYTHING. The project independently sold more than 15,000 copies, and spawned the hit single “He’s Here” (which ultimately reached the #8 position on Billboard’s Gospel chart and was named the 27th most-played gospel song of 2007 by the trade publication R&R (Radio and Records). Now she is back with her sophomore CD entitled REST which hit stores on August 19th via partnership with Executive Music Group and distribution by Fontana.

All 13 songs on REST were written and co-produced by Niyoki in collaboration with her four producers: Ralph B. Stacy (Mario, Dru Hill, Jagged Edge and K-Ci and JoJo); Antonio Neal (EMI Gospel recording artist and producer for Canton Jones, Darlene McCoy, and Kierra “Kiki” Sheard); and up-and-comers Floyd Thomas and Quintin X. Coleman. The first single, “Joy,” was shipped to radio in May, and is currently seated at the #40 on the BDS e-Chart.

Recorded while she was pregnant with her first child (Kedron Nero), REST is a solid collection of songs, each of which has a different sound and feel. REST crosses all musical genres to incorporate R&B, Jazz, rock and hip-hop all laced together with what Niyoki describes as “a central theme of hope and love for Jesus Christ.”

REST includes the beautiful and soothing “I Will Rest,” the high energy and driven single, “Joy,” the praise-filled “Where Would I Be?” and the earnestly prayerful “All That I Have.” These are just a few of the highlights featured on Niyoki’s new project which gives Niyoki a suitable platform on which to showcase the strength of her voice as well as her remarkable contralto-to-mezzo-soprano vocal range. “I was so much more comfortable with this project because I’d been there, done that,” said Niyoki who previously was part of the R&B group Milenia which Prince tapped to perform as his background vocalists. “I’m more settled in my thoughts, with my lyrics, and with what direction I wanted to go with the music. And more importantly, my relationship with God has evolved into a place of peace.”

Listen to Niyoki's latest single, "Joy" from her new album, "Rest".

*** Album is in stores and available for purchase online now***

For more information visit the following sites:

* Niyoki's Official Website
* Niyoki's Official Myspace Page

Thanks to Heather Suomi @ Universal Music Group Distribution for the press release.

Old School Throwback: CLC Youth Choir

Last month when I featured You Don't Know by CLC Youth Choir, there was a request for another of their songs, Jesus, You're Everything To Me. The song was first recorded on their 1991 album, Whatever It Takes (Word), and then later revived on their 1993 live album, Live...In The Spirit (the version which is featured here). Written by the choir's choir director, Glen Woodard, there's one line in the song that says "just to say I love You, would never be enough, to tell You all that You have meant to me", and that wraps up abouth what the song is about. Led by Kimberly Seibold, the choir does a great job in their revival of the song, it sounds more updated than the first time they ministered the song and the addition of the vamp is a nice touch as well.

I couldn't do a throwback to the CLC Youth Choir without including their signature invitational song, The Old Landmark written by Glen Woodard. First heard on the choir's 1990 debut, Anchored To The Rock, and later on their 1993 release, Live... In The Spirit with Sherre Woodard singing lead (the version heard here, is from their debut album). I love the lyrics to this song, it's about how we've all at one time or another have fallen out the will of God and then come back to his loving arms to start anew.

**To listen to songs mentioned, click on the album covers**

Double Take: I Love You

William Hubbard's I Love You continues to be a staple in nearly every church's worship service. The lyrics of this song proclaims the declaration of our love for our Lord. I Love You was first recorded by Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir on their 1985 album, Have Mercy (Birthright Records), and then later by Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago on their 1996 release, Growing Up (CGI Records). I figured there wasn't much that really needed to be said about either version of the song, both do a great job of letting the lyrics stand out without the instruments and vocals overpowering it. If you agree or disagree, or just have any other comments about the song, as always let your voice be heard by leaving your comments below.

Double Take - No Greater Love (Pt. 1)

One of last month's double take features was a song Ricky Dillard recorded. As I mentioned then, only Dillard can remake a song and it'll sound just as good and at times better than the original; and in this instance, Dillard did the latter. Let's take a look at another song he and his choir remade, No Greater Love, written by Rudolph Stanfield. Ricky Dillard & New Generation Chorale recorded the song on their 2000 release, No Limit on Crystal Rose. The song starts out with Kevin Randolph on keys, playing a soft intro followed by soloist, Charnetta Richardson, singing the verse. What I like about the verse on this version, is how everything just builds up. First, you have the keyboard playing with the organ following softly, and as the verse progresses and Richardson's voice grows louder, the music follows suit, it flows harmoniously. What also worked on this version was the choirs tone and inflection of their voices, when coming on "work while it's day..." that brought a new face to this song.

No Greater Love was first recorded by Rudolph Stanfield and New Revelation on their 1988 debut album, See What God Has Done, released on Sound of Gospel. One difference you can hear that differs from Dillard's remake is the instrumentation at the beginning of the song. Unlike the later version, this one doesn't really build up, matter of fact, in contrasting the two, this one stays flat just about until the vamp. I was a little disappointed in that because with such musicians as Rudolpoh Stanfield on keys, Michael Wright on guitar, and others, I expected more. I will say though, that as the song did progress it did get much better. Led by Lisa A. Locke, the choir does a great job throughout, but when listening to Ricky Dillard & New Generation Chorale's revamp of the song, this is one where I think the remake is better overall. Let me know whether you agree or disagree, or what other comments you have that pertain to this song in the comments below.

***To listen to songs mentioned, click on the album covers***

Sizzle or Fizzle: What are your thoughts on gospel music's summer offerings?

I'm a faithful visitor to the Prayzehymn site and saw the article, Summer Sizzlers of 2008 featuring the top 10 songs for this summer. Check out the list and give your thoughts as to whether you agree or disagree. If there were others you think should be included, let him know by commenting on his blog.

I'll be back a little later today with today's Double Take Tuesday selection.

Be Blessed!

Old School Throwback Friday: Kim Burrell

I received a request a while back to share any other Kim Burrell songs I have, so that's what I'm going to do today. I found a few songs on where she's appeared as a guest soloist and here they are for everyone to be blessed by:

Wash Me - 1993

(recorded by Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass Choir)
(click on album to listen)

Just Like You Lord- 1995
(recorded by Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass Choir)

(click on album to listen)

I Am A Miracle - 1998
(recorded by Derrick Milan And Peter's Rock Mass Choir)

(click on album to listen)

In Case You Missed It...

There's an older post where you can listen to Kim Burrell leading "Praise Him" recorded by GMWA Youth Choir.

Day of Filling Requests

I'd like to apologize to those who I've yet to fullfill requests of songs you'd like to hear. There have been various reasons as to why I haven't from being busy to just forgetting. Since I have a little time on my hands today, I'm going to go through my emails and messages on the blog and will upload your requests today, along with today's Old School Friday post (even though it seems all the posts are old school...lol)

Digging Through The Crates: GMWA Mass Choir

I was digging through my crates last week looking for some albums for an online friend of mine and came across an album from Rev. James Cleveland's Gospel Music Workshop of America's (GMWA) Mass Choir. The album is from the 1987 convention, marking their 20th anniversary titled, Live At The Cobo Hall Convention Center, Detroit, MI (the recording was released in 1988 under King James Records, a subsidiary of Sound of Gospel). This was an album I had been looking to purchase for awhile because of one song and that song was I've Got To Tell Somebody written by Darrell Rushing. Back in the 80's, the church I grew up in sung alot of songs that were from the GMWA recordings, and everytime the choir sung this song and another GMWA song, Waymaker, people would start to clap, stand up, and just get it the spirit. I can still remember the lady who led this at my church, everytime she sung this, she had this look on her face that looked as if she was saying, "get out of my way, I've got to tell this", and then would throw her shoe...hehe. Hopefully this will bring back some memories for you all as well, enjoy and be blessed!

I've Got To Tell Somebody(1988)
(written by Darrell Rushing)

(click on album to listen)

Old School Throwback Friday (The Late Edition): The Anointed Pace Sisters

I know I may get a shoe or hymnal thrown at me...hehe... but I think The Anointed Pace Sisters (TAPS) are the best gospel female group of recent time (recent being from the 70's to present day). Nothing against The Clark Sisters, I love their ministry and their music, but I just happen to like The Anointed Pace Sisters more. I received a request from another site a few weeks ago to post Wonderful Couselor from their album, In The Hands of God released on Faith Records back in the 80's (the recording doens't list an exact date), so you'll find that below to listen to. To add to that, I've included their original recording of the song back when they were just known as The Pace Sisters. The original recording is taken from their first release, Jesus Knows How Much We Can Bear: Songs of Inspiration. I'm not very sure of the release date, but it sounds like the late 70's to early 80's. Listen to both songs and provide your thoughts on them in the comments below.

Wonderful Counselor (?)

(written by Ruth Davis)
(click on album to listen)

Wonderful Counselor (1980's)
(soloist: Shun Pace Rhodes)

(click on album to listen)

Found: TM Mass Youth Choir cd

I've gotten alot of emails about where to purchase TM Mass Youth Choir's 1993 release, Send Your Anointing, on TM Records. This is the album that has such songs as Rock of Ages, Send Your Anointing, and Get Away Jordan. The album is very hard to come by, that was until now. The album is for sell used and new at Amazon.com . There's only two available for sell, so if anyone is interested, I'd advise that you move fast. For further information, visit the product page.

Here's the title track, Send Your Anointing, for you to listen to:

To also listen to Rock of Ages from this album, click here.

Double Take: He's Coming Back

Many know of John P. Kee's early work with GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America) and the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar, but throughout the 80's Kee wrote numerous songs for other gospel artists well known and unknown. One song in particular is He's Coming Back. John P. Kee wrote the song as well as sung solo on it when the song appeared on the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir's 1988 release, That Name on the Birthright label. However, with He's Coming Back being one of the top tracks from that album, many may have forgotten that New Jerusalem Baptist Church Choir (best known for recording Revelation 19:1 (aka Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory) ) originally recorded the song.

Under the direction of Ronnie Martin and Jeffrey LaValley, the choir released this song, then titled, Getting My House In Order on their album, Show Me The Way in 1987 on the Sound of Gospel label. While New Jerusalem's version is a little faster than the one on the Music and Arts Seminar album, it's just as good as the later version. Led by Duane Bailey, the choir gives a strong delivery of the song, leaving me wanting to hear more. Listen to both versions for yourself and provide your thoughts in the comment section below.

***Click on album cover to listen to songs mentioned***