Funeral Services for Willie Claud Ligon, Brother of Mighty Clouds’ Joe Ligon

The homegoing service for Willie Claud Ligon will be Monday, April 11, 2011, at 10am, at Second Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.  The church is at 11118 Yukon Avenue, Inglewood, CA.  Interment will be in Inglewood Park Cemetery.  Services have been entrusted to Simpson Family Mortuary.

Ligon passed April 2, 2011.  He is the younger brother of Joe Ligon from the Mighty Clouds of Joy.

Shirley Murdock set to record first “live” CD/DVD

Shirley Murdock just might shut Charlotte, NC down on April 28. This is the evening of her first “Live” CD/DVD recording, and she’s doing it big. Her label home, Tyscot, promises a “one-of-a-kind evening filled with an abundance of audience participation and entertaining surprises from beginning to end.” When I consider her success as an R&B singer–don’t act like you don’t remember “As We Lay”–and her connections in the R&B and gospel music industry, I get tingly just thinking about what surprises we could be in for. Afterall, her “first” has to be unforgettable.

Also joining Murdock “live” for the first time are Regina Belle, Beverly Crawford, and Kelly Price. Uh, yeah, this is going to be good. Grammy winner, Cedric Thompson (with projects by Karen Clark Sheard, Donald Lawrence and Tri-City, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Marvin Sapp to his credit), is wearing the producer’s cap.

Murdock’s project is titled, The Journey.

Event Information

  • Thursday, April 28, 2011 
  • 7pm EST (doors open at 6pm)
  • The Broadcast Group Complex, 8400 Regent Pkwy, Fort Mill, SC 29715
  • Tickets – $12 in advance, $18 on day of show; available via or 877-993-8499

What are the GRAMMYS doing with The Gospel?

Hmm.  The Grammy Academy, if you will, is cutting some categories.  Thirty-one to be exact.

Apparently, this is the academy’s effort to maintain the prestige and competition of the awards.  Well, that’s what the Recording Academy’s President/CEO, Neil Portnow says.  You know what this means for gospel music right?

Well, for starters, it means there is a name change to the Gospel Field.  (There are name changes to other fields as well, but this is a gospel music blog.)  The Gospel Field has been renamed the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field.  Then, there are category changes.  The 53rd Grammy Awards had the following categories in the Gospel Field:

  • Best Gospel Performance
  • Best Gospel Song
  • Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album
  • Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
  • Best Southern, Country Or Bluegrass Gospel Album
  • Best Traditional Gospel Album
  • Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album  

The 54th Grammy Awards will have the following categories in its restructured Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field:

  • Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance 
  • Best Gospel Song
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
  • Best Gospel Album
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

It will be interesting (to say the least) to see how this restructuring will directly affect the gospel music industry and its artists.  I can think of a few singers who are definitely going to end up unclassifiable.  Of course, they’ll be made to fit for Grammy eligibility, but is it fair to take them out of their artistic zones and to place them in one that doesn’t quite describe them in hopes of a nomination?  I suspect there are going to be quite a few surprises among the next round of nominees.  And we thought gospel music was already competitive…

You can get all the details about the Grammy evolution here.

Sapp, Winans, Hammond among BMI honorees for 2011’s most-played songs

The BMI Christian Music Awards recently honored 2011’s most-played gospel and christian songs.  The gala event was held April 4th in Nashville and celebrated the songwriters and publishers of the year’s most performed songs on Christian radio and TV, according to the BMI website.

Among gospel award-winning songs are:
“The Best in Me” 
Writers: Aaron Lindsey & Marvin Sapp
“Close to You” 
Writer: BeBe Winans

“God Favored Me”
Writer: Jules Bartholomew

“Good News”
Wrtier: Norman West
“They That Wait”
Writers: Michael Bethany, Phillip Feaster, Fred Hammond, Calvin Rodgers, & Dynna Latyse Wells

Universal Music Publishing Group earned Publisher of the Year honors for:
“The Best In Me”
“Beautiful, Beautiful”
“When the Trumpet Sounds”
“Stuff of Life”
“They That Wait”
BMI is a long-standing American performing right organization that represents more than 475,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music.
For the full story and the complete list of winners, click here.

Passings Within the Quartet Community

GMF is sad to report that Alfred “Gino” Smith, baritone singer for the Gospel Keynotes passed away this weekend.

Also, Willie Claud Ligon, younger brother of The Mighty Clouds of Joy’s lead singer and original member Joe Ligon, has passed away.

GMF offers its condolences.  Please uplift their families and friends in prayer during this time.

Twinkie Clark’s new CD available everywhere today

How many of us have been waiting for this?  Twinkie Clark’s With Humility CD drops today.  Her nephew, Larry Clark (Denise’s son), handles the production work for this project and is also featured on the CD’s single, “Awesome God.”

This musical effort is sure to delight Twinkie’s fans.  Of course, the COGIC evangelist takes to the organ and reminds us why she is hailed as “Queen of the Hammond B3.”  We can also expect the presence of the Clark family, as usual; only this time it is the Clark Brothers who are featured with their auntie.  For a special treat, Twinkie is dueting with her mom, the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, on what is certain to be a highlight of the album.

Sizzlin' This Week (4/4/11) – "In His Name"

“In His Name”
John K. Thorpe
From the CD, In His Name (2007)
Available at Apple Music

Simple musical accompaniment and the opening lyric, “Let us take this bread together in His name,” introduce this worshipful Communion selection.  By the time John Thorpe arrives at the second verse, “Lord, they drove nails in Your hands; they drove a nail in Your feet, but Lord you knew that wasn’t enough to save me,” it is apparent that this is a beautifully written song of reflection and gratitude fitting for the Easter season too.
Thorpe provokes us to remembrance of the sacrifices of Jesus and the power of His name.  By the song’s end, the listener’s heart is filled with thanksgiving and the atmosphere is filled with worship.

Sizzlin’ This Week is the GMF editor’s gospel music pick of the week from her personal playlist.  Every style. Every era.

Ben & Jewel Tankard’s New Reality Series “Gospel Cribs”


Surely, you’ve seen at least one episode of MTV Cribs.  If you’re from a prior generation, you probably even remember Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  Well, how about this for the Lord’s people:  Ben Tankard’s Gospel Cribs!

I am stoked already.
Ben Tankard is recognized as the best selling gospel jazz instrumentalist in the world.  He is also the music producer who is said to have discovered Yolanda Adams. Now, he and his wife Jewel are behind a new reality series.  According to the Gospel Cribs facebook page, Christian artists, actors, pro athletes, and businessmen are going to be showcasing their lavish homes, showing that God’s people can live large too.  I will definitely BOLO (be on lookout) for this show in the fall season lineup.  Do you all think any televangelists will be so gracious as to invite the scrutiny public into their (most likely not-so-humble) abodes?
I am sure Gospel Cribs, and some of these Christian lifestyles, are going to create quite a buzz, especially among the pharisees.