Seamus McGarvey has travelled once again to the US for a star studded gospel festival. Here's his report.
Humility Records owner Glen Stevenson was
the man behind this gospel program attracting a near-capacity crowd recently to
the Albany Civic Center, with Emcee Bro. C. T. Taylor keeping things moving
along. Elder Dennis Miller opened
the event with the hand-clapping 'Ain't My God A Mighty Good God' before The Leonard Brothers invited everyone
to 'Reach Out And Touch The Lord', their 71-year-old mother Gracie taking the
stage for an easy-rocking 'Stay With The Lord'. Humility artists Shawn Jones and The Believers (pictured below) hit with
The Pilgrim Jubilees' 'Me, My God and I' and The Jackson Southernaires'
'Thunder', Jones also revealing both showmanship and preaching on 'I'm Standing
On The Promises Of God'. Extremely popular, an upcoming, exciting and energetic
Maurice Yancey and One Accord also pleased the congregation with numbers like
'Praise The Lord With Me'. There was
some strong testifying on show, bringing a touch of a church service to the
program with their closing 'Satisfied'.
The Gospel Imperials
Thomas Holman Sr. opened with the mid-paced 'Here I Am' plus a nice bluesy feel
on 'God Will Change Things', before their closing 'I Wanna Go Higher' had
everyone joining in.
The McDonald Sisters
brought the fans rushing
to the stage and impressed with the sheer force of their visual and vocal
attack. They opened with 'Give It Up', the slow-stepping 'I Need Him' and the
driving 'Praise Him', featuring Valerie McDonald's strong lead vocals. Great
preaching and singing, plus a highly visual quartet, extending their already
strong following among the congregation.
And Revelation, with the soulful duo of Roy Ladson
Jr. and 'Jo Jo' Leeth, demonstrated good vocal interaction and harmonies, plus
some neat stepping, on numbers like 'My God Knows It All', coming across as a
popular quartet with real potential. There was a great rocking feel for 'I
Thank You Jesus', complete with touches of The Isley Brothers' old
call-and-response workouts, before the hypnotic 'Dr. Jesus' brought some
sanctified clapping, their closing 'Prayer Will Change Things' taking Roy down
amongst the fans. A fine act, keeping quartet music alive and well!
The Bolton Brothers
showed lots of edge
and vocal power, and an extended testifying finish, on the hand-clapping 'One
More Time', with strong harmonies and unison vocals on display on the mid-tempo
'Anybody Leaning And Depending'. By the concluding 'Lord Done Delivered Me'
such was the level of excitement generated, they almost had to be ushered off
the stage. An exciting trio!
Nashboro and AIR recording artist Troy Ramey
and The Soul Searchers opened with
the mid-tempo 'Call Jesus' which had the congregation joining in, leading into
the excitingly hypnotic 'By The Power Of God'. The second tenor handled most of
the leads including 'Prayer Changes
Things' but Troy sang part of the closing 'Thank You Lord'. A gospel veteran,
it was good to see him here.
Although he has had some voice problems of
late, Harvey Watkins Jr. led The Canton
through a number of songs, with the help of 27-year-old second
tenor Keenan Nichols who sang the opening gospel ballad 'Morning Dove',
before Harvey took over for the mid-paced
hand-clapping 'Clean Up'. With some reminiscing about the past, all with a
humorous edge, other highlights included the hard-driving 'Show Me The Way' and
the near-country feel of 'Fix It Jesus'. It was good to see Harvey back in fine
voice on the closing 'Glad I've Got Jesus', bringing a great day of gospel and
quartet music to an exciting finish.
McGarvey ('Juke Blues' magazine), with thanks to Henry Wesley, Willie Mitchell,
Glen Stevenson and Darrell Luster.