Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Family Reunion Gospel Festival, Albany GA

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 quartet.
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 led by 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.
Roy 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 Spirituals 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.
Seamus McGarvey ('Juke Blues' magazine), with thanks to Henry Wesley, Willie Mitchell, Glen Stevenson and Darrell Luster.


At 8:54 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

Great review on a mouthwatering show. Tell Seamus Mitch Ryder will have to go a lot this Sat at Prestatyn to come near that (joking of course).

At 4:35 am , Blogger Hayden Smith said...

Great Information, thanks for sharing with us.My friend recommended to go to Albany and see to all Albany GA Events with my family, I have also been planning to walkthought for once time. Your information has helped us to me.

At 4:30 am , Anonymous Daniel Ballinger said...

I'm trying to find out how to get in touch with troy ramey. Does anyone know how I can get in contact with him? My name is Daniel Ballinger
You can email me at danielslickballinger@yahoo.com

Any help will be truly appreciated

At 2:45 am , Blogger Stephaine Mosley said...

I grew up listening to Troy Ramey and the soul searchers.Would love to see\here them today.


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