GMF asks, ‘What’s your favorite song of the Easter season?’

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

This week, I took to social media to ask for your favorite songs of the Easter season. Your responses encompassed old school and new school gospel across several subgenres. Here’s what you said:

Vanessa Bell Armstrong cover artNatalie Grant

“For God So Loved the World”
Vanessa Bell Armstrong

“He Was Hung Up for My Hangups”
Twinkie Clark

“In His Name”
John Thorpe and Family

Shekinah Glory Ministries

“Jesus is Alive”
Ron Kenoly

“Jesus Paid It All”
Mississippi Mass Choir ft. Rev. James Moore

“Jesus Rose with All Power in His Hands”
The New Gospel Keynotes

“Nobody Greater”
VaShawn Mitchell

“Rise Again”
The Gospel Keynotes

“So Glad (He Did Not Leave Me Like He Found Me)”
The Yanceys

“The Blood Still Works”
Malcolm Williams and Great Faith

“Were You There”
Juan Santiago & Uninhibited Praise

Compare your picks to mine by checking out Editor’s Picks of the (Easter) Season and More of the Editor’s Picks of the (Easter) Season.  Then, keep adding your favorites in the comment box below!

Al Green fêted at 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, airs Dec. 30

Rev. Al Green is among five recipients of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors. The gala was held December 7, at the Kennedy Center and will be broadcast on CBS tomorrow, December 30, at 9 PM ET.  The Kennedy Center explains:

The Honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are selected by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

While Al Green demonstrates musical excellence in both the soul and gospel genres, gospel great Marion Williams (whose career included tenures with the Clara Ward Singers and the Stars of Faith) is the only strictly gospel singer to have received the honor since its inception 37 years ago. Don’t you think it’s time for more of our deserving gospel artists to be recognized?  I can certainly think of a handful who merit recognition for their lifetime contributions and excellence, such as Shirley Caesar, Andraé Crouch, Richard Smallwood, and Edwin Hawkins. 

So, here’s a challenge to GMF readers: review the criteria for this honor and submit your recommendation for 2015 here: Submit A Kennedy Center Honors Recommendation

More of the Editor’s Picks of the (Easter) Season

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

I’ve done it again.  I’ve compiled more of my favorite songs of the season—new tunes and old tunes, familiar and not so familiar.  The one thing they all have in common is the message and miracle of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  Jesus is alive!

You Did It All
Shirley Caesar
From Stand Still (1993)

The Blood Song
The music of Ricky Dillard is among my picks for this Easter season.Kirk Franklin
From The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin (2002)

The Blood Still Works
Malcolm Williams and Great Faith
From In Your Glory (2009)

Fountain Filled with Blood
Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark
From Praise Belongs to God (1979)

Jesus Dropped the Charges
The O’Neal Twins and the Interfaith Choir
From Saved By His Love (1981)

Because of the Blood
Ricky Dillard & New G
From Keep Living (2011)

The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Famous Caravans
From Let’s Break Bread Together (1969)

Hymns – The Blood Medley
Tamela Mann
From Best Days (2012)

Will the Lord Remember Me?
The Sensational Nightingales
From Let Us Encourage You (2005)

Richard Smallwood with Vision
From Persuaded: Live in DC (2001)

See more of my favorites here: Editor’s Picks of the (Easter) Season

GMF Editor’s Picks of 2013

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

The end of another year is upon us, and 2013 brought with it some wonderful gospel music. Here’s my list of picks for this year.  This list includes only the songs I have reviewed and featured on GMF in 2013.  

LaTonya Earl's "I Run to You" is the GMF editor's pick of 2013.
LaTonya Earl

“I Run to You” 
LaTonya Earl

“He Rescued Me”
Tim Woodson & The Heirs of Harmony

“Won’t Be Like This Always”
PreZ Blackmon

“New Beginnings”
Linda Clark

“Joy Comes in the Morning”
“Gud 2 Me”
“Ready Aim”
“Greater Is Coming”


“God Brought Us From A Mighty Long Way”
The Yancey Family Singers

GMF Sightings – William Rigsbee of Willie Banks & The Messengers

Click to Enlarge
William Rigsbee, formerly of Willie Banks and the Messengers, performed several tunes from the group’s catalog on Sunday, June 2, at the anniversary musical of the Spiritual Lights of Rougemont, NC.  Rigsbee currently resides in Nashville, NC and is known to his following as “The Singing Angel.”

Photo by Libra Boyd

GMF Editor’s Top 10 Picks of 2012

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

This year has been another filled with great gospel music.  As I look forward to 2013 ushering in more of the same, I revisit the best ten songs to have come across the GMF desk during 2012.  The following short list includes only the songs I have reviewed and featured on GMF this year.

“Awesome God”
Maurette Brown Clark

“I Call Him Mine”
Daphney Hilton

“Don’t Forget About Me”
Cat Cole

“Turn It Around”
Tim Rogers & The Fellas feat. John P. Kee

“Can’t Live”
Genita Pugh

“How Glorious and Excellent Is Our God”
Freda Battle & The Temple Worshippers feat. Rodney Posey

Joyceland McCaster and Victorious Soul

“Burn It All Down”

“Imagine Me”
Alexis Spight

“I Still Have A Praise Inside of Me”
Georgia Mass Choir

GMF Sightings – Thomas "Butch" Cobbs, Founding Member of the Gospel Persuaders

GMF’s Libra Boyd and Thomas Cobbs
I had the privilege to worship with the God’s Temple Holiness Church family in celebration of Pastor Mary Cobbs’ anniversary Saturday night. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that her husband is Deacon Thomas “Butch” Cobbs, founding member of the Gospel Persuaders. He appeared equally surprised to learn that I own one of the group’s popular 1980’s 45 singles, “God Will Take Care of You.”

The Gospel Persuaders were a traditional quartet group from the Danville, VA area that traveled nationally during the zenith of their music career. In addition to being the founder and guitarist, Cobbs was the group’s chief songwriter. Among the Persuaders’ most popular tunes was their gospelized cover of “You’ve Got A Friend.”

GMF Sightings – Carolyn Pettiford-Ryals and Walter Hatcher of WNCU 90.7 FM

WNCU 90.7 FM radio personalities Carolyn Pettiford-Ryals and Walter Wallace Hatcher, aka the Ol’ Chatham County County Boy, are prepping to emcee Saturday’s concert at Lattisville Grove Baptist Church featuring Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s.

Pettiford-Ryals and Hatcher are the hosts of “Hallelujah Praise,” which airs every Sunday morning from 6 to 11 AM EST.  Both hosts play a mix of traditional gospel music (mostly quartets), oldies and new releases by local artists.  The broadcast also streams live from

GMF Sightings – Keynotes’ Guitarist Val Alexander

GMF sighted Val Alexander, longtime guitarist and member of Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes, this weekend at New Hope Person Baptist Church in Timberlake, NC.  Alexander traveled with the quartet (whose notable songs include “Show Me the Way” and “Jesus, You’ve Been Good to Me”) approximately 25 years.  Currently, he performs with Mattie Alston (also known as “The Dipping Lady”) and the Voices of Praise from Greensboro.

Editor’s Picks of the (Easter) Season

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Easter is, by many, one of the most celebrated seasons in the Christian liturgical year.  Consequently, it is no surprise that there is an abundance of glorious gospel music to match.

It was excruciating, but I did it: I limited my picks to ten classic (or destined to be classic) gospel recordings.  In random order, here are my favorites for one of the most wonderful times of the year:

He Was Hung Up for My Hangups
Twinkie Clark
From Home Once Again: Live in Detroit (2004)
No Fault
Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s
From Good Time (2000)
Albertina Walker CD artOh Lord Remember Me
Albertina Walker
From Songs of the Church (1997)
The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power
Andrae Crouch
From Take the Message Everywhere (1969)
Jesus Paid It All
Margaret Allison & The Angelic Gospel Singers
From Lord You Gave Me Another Chance (1989)
The Blood Still Has Miraculous Power
Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers
From Awesome Wonder (2001)
Medley: There’s A Fountain/Room at the Cross for You/The Old Rugged Cross
Shirley Caesar
From Hymns (2001)
O The Blood
New Jersey Mass Choir
From Hold Up the Light (1987)
Walter Hawkins & The Love Center Choir
From Love Alive V – 25th Anniversary Reunion (1998)
Blood Medley
Donnie McClurkin
From Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (2005)