“Love Is A God Word” – Samuel Obie

“Love Is A God Word”
Samuel Obie
From the CD, Cat-A-Fly (2019)
Available on all digital outlets 

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Samuel Obie foregoes excessive vocals and layers of synthesized sound to deliver the current single from his Cat-A-Fly CD, “Love Is A God Word.”

Obie is a songwriter.  His songs have been recorded by three of the biggest names in gospel music: Shirley Caesar, Edwin Hawkins, and John P. Kee.  Notwithstanding, in this particular composition, the only lyric you’ll hear shows up in the refrain and is the song’s title.  Perhaps this is because Obie is also a seasoned musician.  On this inspirational jazz piece, he chooses to put his organ chops front and center.  It’s a tasteful choice with nimble, expressive fingerwork that interprets love’s divinity in both melody and timbre while the supporting instruments know their place and contently ride the groove.

Obie is a native of Hillsborough, NC who presently resides in the Charlotte metro area.

"Reach Out and Touch" – Ben Tankard ft. Kirk Whalum

“Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”
Ben Tankard ft. Kirk Whalum
From the upcoming CD, Full Tank 2.0 (Available February 10, 2015)

Ben Tankard cover art

Just imagine the enduring message of “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” infused with smooth, soulful jazz instrumentation by keyboardist Ben Tankard and saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Thankfully, use of imagination is not needed since “Reach Out and Touch” (popularized by Diana Ross) is in fact the first single from Tankard’s forthcoming gospel jazz instrumental CD, Full Tank 2.0.

Tankard certainly does appear to be running on a full tank. In addition to new music, the multi-award–winning musician/producer has kicked off season two of his hit Bravo reality show Thicker Than Water (read his interview with GMF here: Ben Tankard talks about new season of ‘Thicker Than Water,’ new music, and his critics) and has a new book and clothing line in the works.

Enjoy the video “Reach Out and Touch” below.

"The Holy One" – Patricia LaVerne McQueen

“The Holy One”
Patricia LaVerne McQueen
From the CD, It’s All About Love (2014)
McDuJo Gospel Music
Available at Amazon

Patricia LaVerne McQueen It's All About Love cover art

Patricia LaVerne McQueen skillfully converts Scripture to song.  It’s perhaps the primary reason she’s called “The Word Singer.” Just as engaging as her ability to craft lyrics from Scripture is the sheer artistry of her vocal delivery (reminiscent of jazz greats Nancy Wilson, Lena Horne, and Natalie Cole), which is immediately apparent in “The Holy One” from her 10-track upbeat jazzy CD, It’s All About Love. 

McQueen’s talent is honed through years of experience, including her four-year tenure as an original member of the internationally acclaimed a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock.  And just in case you’re wondering, she is the same Patricia (Pat Johnson, at the time) who recorded the 1972 R&B hit single “Love Brought You Here.”

The strength of “The Holy One” is the intimacy of conversation between McQueen and the listener, conveyed with McQueen’s lush jazz runs and just enough scatting to tease a jazz enthusiast.  The unblemished execution of her solo as she walks through Biblical texts that point to the deity of Jesus Christ is the perfect union of style and substance.

McQueen is presently an evangelist at Seed of Faith Ministries in California.

Sizzlin’ This Week (7/4/11) – “When the Saints Go Marching In”

“When the Saints Go Marching In”
Louis Armstrong
From the CD, Hallelujah!: Gospel 1930-1941 (2002)
Frémeaux & Associés

Louis Armstrong frequently said his birthday was July 4, 1900.  In the mid 1980’s–many years after his death in 1971–baptismal records revealed his true birthdate was in fact August 4, 1901.

In honor of the iconic jazz trumpeter’s unofficial birthday and in celebration of his contributions to American music, my pick this week is Satchmo’s version of the gospel classic turned jazz standard, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” from the CD compilation Hallelujah!: Gospel 1930-1941.

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.