Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Luther Barnes’ “Yet Love” Reaches Top 30 – In Stores January 24, 2012

Luther Barnes, Son of “Mr Rough Side Of The Mountain” The Late Great F.C. Barnes, has forged his own place and has made his own mark in the history of Gospel music.

On January 24, 2012 , Luther Barnes releases his 22nd CD entitled, “Another Level” performed with The Sunset Jubilaires and promises to brighten the New Year with songs of faith, encouragement, and inspiration.

Cherished as one of the greatest balladeers of all time in any genre (Urban, Gospel or Blues), Luther Barnes has enjoyed airplay and sales success with his many styles of Gospel recorded albums from the Quartet style, Praise & Worship to Contemporary.
As a producer and songwriter, Luther Barnes has produced and penned timeless classics such as “I'm Still Holding”, “So Satisfied” & the Grammy Nominated “It's Your Time,” Stellar Nominated, “Wedding Song” standard “Somehow Someway” and the “Exercise Song” “You Keep On Blessing Me” which was a Top 10 Billboard Gospel Song and experienced crossover success into the Urban mainstream receiving airplay on Urban AC stations around the country.
And just when you think he couldn't get any better, he penned the current single “Yet Love” which is quickly making its presence felt at retail has also made its debut in the Top 30 on Mediabase Gospel chart.
Of his twenty-one releases in his vast catalog with more than half of them reaching Billboard's Top Gospel Albums Charts, seven (7) in the top twenty
Old and new fans of this multi-talented gentleman will definitely want to add this future classic to their Luther Barnes music collection.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011



JACKSON, MS (November 28, 2011 ) – Maurette Brown Clark, often called “The Princess of Praise & Worship” makes an historic splash on the Billboard charts with her latest album, The Sound of Victory, garnering the highest album debut in her storied career thus far. Debuting at #7 on Billboard’s Gospel Chart, and rising to #6 in its second week, the two-time Stellar Award-winning gospel star released her fourth solo album November 8, 2011 on Atlanta International Records/Malaco Music Group. Recording The Sound of Victory live before an enthralled audience in Norfolk, VA, the twelve tracks pack a powerful punch with Brown Clark’s signature lyrical gifts that have made her one of gospel’s most beloved artists.

Encompassing the best of Brown Clark’s artistic and performance talents, the longtime Baltimore resident delivers an uplifting praise-filled album that envelops fans with a mix of buoyant melodies, reflective lyrics on faith, hope, strength and more. Featuring the hit first single “I Hear The Sound (Of Victory),” Brown Clark also gives fans some timeless favorites on The Sound of Victory with special performances of her hits “Breaking of Day” and “Even in the Rain,” as well as dynamic songs such as “Don’t Be Discouraged (God Will See You Through),” “Awesome God,” among other soul-stirring, standout tracks.

A native of Long Island, NY, Brown Clark began singing at a very young age with her family group, The Brown Singers, and she counts legendary artists including Pastor Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and her mentor, Richard Smallwood as major influences. After graduating from college, she released her first solo album, How I Feel, in 1998 and earned a Stellar Award for Best New Artist in 2000. She went on to release two more acclaimed CDs, By His Grace in 2002 and The Dream in 2007. She continues to be an influence for multiple generations and expand the boundaries in gospel, bringing the gospel and joy of God’s gifts, love and guidance to reach others struggling through life challenges.

With an impressive 20 years in gospel music, Brown Clark has amassed hits including “Breaking Of Day,” “Just Wanna Praise You,” “Even In The Rain,” “One God” and “It Ain’t Over (Until God Says It’s Over)” and “Calvary” and “Angels” with Richard Smallwood and Vision. Recently appearing on TBN and Bobby Jones Gospel, Brown Clark continues to tour regularly, in-demand to share her musical ministry and is currently nominated in the category of Best Female Gospel Artist of 2011 for the First Annual Digital Gospel Music Awards, with voting taking place at: http://elev8.com/gospel-music/darnelladunham/gospel-women-gospel-female-artist-best-female-gospel-artist-2011-poll/.

The Sound of Victory Track Listing:
1. Breaking of Day
2. I Live to Praise Him
3. I Hear the Sound (of Victory)
4. Awesome God
5. He’s Alive
6. Don’t Be Discouraged
7. Worship You Lord
8. Jesus I Love You
9. Earth Has No Sorrow
10. My Faith Looks Up to Thee
11. Even in the Rain
12. He Is Able

To learn more about Maurette Brown Clark, please visit:
Official Website: http://www.maurettebrownclark.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/maurette-brown-clark
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/maurettebclark

* * * * *

Patti Webster

Neicy Tribbett

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gospel duo BeBe and CeCe Winans get star

The brother-and-sister gospel singing duo BeBe CeCe Winans received the 2,452nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday (October 20) honoring a career that has brought them seven chart-topping albums and singles and a combined 15 Grammy Awards.

According to reuters, both siblings spoke at the late-morning ceremony in front of The Music Box on Hollywood Boulevard. They were joined by Quincy Jones and Jazz musician David Koz. The Winans also pulled out microphones and sang for the crowd.

'This is a great honor. I thank my brother and duet partner BeBe for making great music and great memories. It's been an honor, it's been fun, it's been exciting, it's been frustrating, it's been crazy but it's been wonderful. I just thank God. I could not do it without him and the wonderful music that he has written,' said CeCe Winans.

The seventh and eighth of the 10 children of gospel singers Mom and Pop Winans made their debut in 1982 as part of the signing group The PTL Singers on the Christian television show 'The PTL Club.'

Their debut album 'BeBe CeCe Winans' reached 12 on the Billboard gospel charts. A single from the album, 'I.O.U Me,' reached No. 2 on the Christian music charts, while another single, 'For Always,' brought CeCe Winans a Grammy for best female soul gospel performance.

BeBe Winans won his first Grammy in 1988 for best male soul gospel performance for 'Abundant Life.' He won again in the category the following year for 'Meantime.'

They began pursuing solo careers in 1994, with CeCe Winans winning a Grammy in 1995 for best contemporary soul gospel album for 'Alone in His Presence.' She also won Grammys in 2001 for best pop/contemporary gospel album ('CeCe Winans'), in 2005 for best gospel performance ('Pray') and best contemporary soul gospel album ('Purified'); and in 2008 for best pop/contemporary gospel album ('Thy Kingdom Come').

The Winans reunited in 2009 to record the album 'Still,' which topped the gospel charts and won a Grammy as best contemporary RB gospel album.

~ Big Pond News

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The Sounds Of Blackness debut single, “Fly Again” featuring Jamecia Bennett (Daughter Of Ann Nesby) from their self-titled 40th Anniversary CD release, The Sounds Of Blackness (In Stores 10/18) is now available on Itunes, Amazon and Wherever Music Is Sold Online!!!

“Fly Again” is currently charting both on the Billboard Gospel & Urban AC charts.

The Sounds of Blackness (SOB) has been bringing hope and inspiration to people through their music for the past four decades and the heartfelt song “Fly Again” continued their tradition as America was comforted and Inspired over this past weekend during the observance of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 as it reverberated over the airwaves.

Share with your radio listeners, television viewers, print readers & online visitors that The Sounds Of Blackness are back!!!

Thank You Media Family For Your Support Of The Sounds Of Blackness!
D.A. Johnson

Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman, Rick Hall, Jerry Douglas, and Bob Harris To Receive AMA Lifetime Achievement awards

NASHVILLE, September 12, 2011 – The Americana Music Association will honor the jaw dropping accomplishments of Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman, Rick Hall, Jerry Douglas, and Bob Harris by presenting them with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Association’s Honors & Awards show Thursday, October 13, 2011, at Nashville’s historically cool Ryman Auditorium.
• Lifetime Achievement for Songwriter - Songstress Lucinda Williams, set to be honored in the Songwriter category, continues to make musical inroads, dazzling droves of fans as an artist, performer and celebrated tunesmith of the highest caliber. Her roots-grounded sound has yielded immeasurable influence on countless other musicians.
• Lifetime Achievement for Performer - Living legend Gregg Allman, to be saluted in the Performer category, leads the charge of genre-melding Southern-bred rockers. He’s captivated audiences since first skyrocketing to success with The Allman Brothers Band, and continues as a relentless road warrior and celebrated musician today.

• Lifetime Achievement for Executive - Rick Hall, whose landmark sessions fostered the seminal Muscle Shoals sound, will be honored with the Association’s Jack Emerson Executive Award. Hall’s war chest of talents includes songwriting and musicianship, but it is his groundbreaking production work at FAME Studios that crossed musical formats and attracted artists from across the nation such as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Etta James, The Osmonds, and Bobbie Gentry.
• Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist- Dobro master Jerry Douglas is one of the instrument's greatest living players and is being honored in the Instrumental category. Equally revered for his solo work, session playing, and as a longtime member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, Douglas has astounded fans and critics for decades.
• Trailblazer Award - Bob Harris, set to receive the Trailblazer award, is a celebrated radio host and journalist who works as a tireless advocate for exceptional artistry. For generations he's played a pivotal role in exposing listeners to rising talent and critically acclaimed stalwarts, via shows on the BBC and other outlets.
The Honors & Awards is the capstone event of the Americana Music Association’s Festival and Conference presented by Nissan, running October 12-15 in Nashville. Jim Lauderdale will again serve as master of ceremonies, while Buddy Miller will lead an all-star house band. Among the other artists attending are: Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, Hayes Carll, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Secret Sisters and more to be announced.
The always cool, full of surprises event is open to the general public. A limited number of tickets, $35 and $65, are available through the Ryman Box Office, ryman.com.
Slated for Wednesday, October 12 through Saturday, October 15, the Annual Americana Festival and Conference presented by Nissan will offer daily seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel. The nighttime performances bring more than 100 stacked musical showcases to key venues throughout Nashville.
Full Festival & Conference registration includes access to all panels and presentations, the revamped exhibit hall, invitations to all sanctioned parties, a ticket to the Honors and Awards Show and priority admission to the evening performances. Registration is currently $350 for AMA members and $450 for non-members.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Malaco Music Group is proud to announce the signing of the Grammy winning group, Sounds Of Blackness.

The debut single “Fly Again” from their self-titled CD, “The Sounds Of Blackness” will be Impacting Airplay August 1 & 2

“Fly Again” features the phenomenal vocals of Jamecia Bennett, daughter of Ann Nesby, mother of Paris Bennett, American Idol Season 5, Top 5 Contestant.

The release of the full length CD “The Sounds Of Blackness” consequently coincides with the 20th anniversary celebration of the of their classic CD “Optimistic” and 40th Anniversary of the group’s inception.

Gary Hines, Music Director / Producer Sounds of Blackness states, "Sounds of Blackness and I are extraordinarily overjoyed to have the honor of signing with Malaco! Sounds of Blackness and Malaco have a lot in common - bringing Black Music to all people, celebrating four decades of existence, and remaining true to our roots! Sounds of Blackness dedicates "FLY AGAIN" the 1st Single from our forthcoming new CD, to Malaco and to all of the people of the cities across America and around the world, who have recently suffered unfathomable devastation. Together we will all soon be able to "FLY AGAIN!"

Tommy Couch Jr, Vice President, Malaco, Inc, states, “We are so exited to work with a group of this magnitude. The Sounds Of Blackness are still about the music and the message while maintaining their unique creativity.”

Lionel Ridenour, Executive Director – Urban Division states, “Fly Again” is a great record. Radio stations across the country should just play it!”

“Much like Bebe & Cece Winans, The Sounds Of Blackness was extremely instrumental in crossing Gospel / Inspirational music over into the mainstream in the 90’s and It is great to see them return stronger than ever.” states, D.A. Johnson, Executive Director – Gospel Division.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Funeral Arrangements for Bishop F.C. Barnes

The funeral arrangements for Bishop F.C. Barnes are as followings:

Memorial Service: Friday, July 15, 2011, 7:00 pm

Funeral Service: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 11:00 am:

All services will be held at:

Red Budd Holy Church
627 Cleveland Street
Rocky Mount, NC 27803

The funeral arrangements are being handled by:

Hamilton Funeral Chapel, Inc
726 S. Tarboro Street
Wilson, NC 27893
252 291-0234

All condolences sent to the e-mail address ydeejay1@yahoo.com will be printed and given to the family.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The Malaco Music Group regrets to inform you that Gospel Icon, Bishop F.C. Barnes passed away early this morning, July 11, 2011 at approximately 2:30 am. He was 82.

Bishop Barnes began singing in quartets when he was 14 years old. He would later record eight albums with Rev. Janice Brown and “Rough Side of the Mountain” became the most popular album remaining #1 on the gospel charts for more than a year, selling over 500,000 copies. Bishop Barnes spent his entire recording career on Atlanta International Records, (Air Gospel) a subsidiary of The Malaco Music Group. He recorded 15 albums, not including appearances on several LP's with his son, Gospel Legend Luther Barnes and the widely successful direct marketing campaign infomercial entitled, Gospel Legends.

Bishop Barnes has received numerous Stellar Award nominations as well as a Dove Award nomination. In 2010, Bishop Barnes & Company received a Stellar Award nomination for their latest CD “The Old Time Way.” On this CD, he recorded his first collaboration since Rev. Janice Brown with Darrell Luster on the single, "God Is God” (He Won’t Change) which received considerable airplay and garnered an appearance on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel.

According to Malaco’s Executive Director – Gospel Division, D.A. Johnson…

“I was saddened when I received the news of the passing of Bishop F. C. Barnes. Bishop Barnes was the true patriarch of his family, consummate leader to his church ministry, highly dedicated professional in his dealings with his music ministry and always a gentleman. He wrote one of the greatest songs of all time so I affectionately referred to him as, "Mr. Rough Side Of The Mountain" I'm honored to have had the opportunity to serve in his music legacy. Bishop F. C. Barnes will be greatly missed.”

Please pray for the entire Barnes Family.

Funeral Arrangements will be forthcoming.

To listen to clips and read the complete bio of Bishop F.C. Barnes, visit www.malaco.com

• When it Rains it Pours
• Rough Side of the Mountain
• No Tears in Glory
• Rev. F.C. Barnes - Live
• Keep Me All the Way
• I shall Not Be Moved
• I Can’t make It (Without the Lord)
• Hold On
• God will Heal the Land
• God Delivered
• Come on in the Room
• Can’t See You
• Barnes Family Reunion
• Barnes Family Reunion II
• The Old Time Way

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mississippi Mass Choir Set to Tour South Africa

The award winning Mississippi Mass Choir will once again “Go ye into all the world;” evangelizing in song; with a tour of South Africa. Hosted by the I Can Foundation, the tour will take place June 9-20th and included services in Johannesburg, New London, Hazyview, and Pretoria.

According to Dr. David Molapo, Chairman and Co-Founder of the I Can Foundation, “We are looking forward to hosting the world renowned Mississippi Mass Choir in the Motherland! Over the years their music has made an impact in the lives of many South Africans. We believe that this ministry tour will spread a message of hope and be life transforming for all involved.”

Fresh off of a fourteen city tour of Spain and the Canary islands, the choir has been blessed to grace international stages throughout the Bahamas, Japan, Italy, France, Portugal, and Greece; becoming the first Gospel group to perform at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, at the base of the iconic Acropolis in Athens, Greece. While attending the famed Umbria Jazz Gospel and Soul Easter Festival in Terni, Italy, the choir received an unexpected invite to sing for Pope John Paul II at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo.

Over their 23 year music ministry career, they have either won or received nominations for every industry award; including the Grammy, Stellar, Soul Train, Dove, National Association of Record Merchandisers, 3M Visionary, and Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. On three occasions Billboard Magazine recognized them as Gospel Artist of the Year. The single “God Made Me” from their new release is currently in the “Top Ten” on the Billboard Gospel Song Chart. Arguably their crowning industry achievement came in 2010 at the 25th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards where they were awarded the “Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award.”

You would think that after such a long and distinguished career, they would be resting on their laurels and enjoying the fruits of their labors. “Not so,” says Executive Director, Jerry Mannery, “We are scouting out new fields to till and sow seeds for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For more information visit: www.mississippimasschoir.com / www.facebook.com/tmmc1 / www.icanfound.org

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mississippi Mass Choir – Welcome To The Top 10!!!

After 31 weeks on the BDS Billboard Hot Gospel Songs Charts, God Made Me” by the Mississippi Mass Choir grinds upward 1 space to enter into the Top 10 this week.

“God Made Me” has spent approximately 6 weeks prior at #12, 2 weeks at #11 before moving its way upward.

D.A. Johnson, Executive Director of the Malaco’s Gospel Division states, “I would like to congratulate my promotional team for their diligence and hard work. It’s immensely gratifying to see that in the midst of Contemporary giants in the marketplace, that there is still a place where a historic Traditional choir from Mississippi can still shine brightly and spread their powerful message of hope. Thank you Gospel radio and Urban radio stations that program Gospel music for your continued support of Malaco.”

“God Made Me” was penned by Jules Bartholomew who has written such hits for Hezekiah Walker and LFC as “Faithful Is Our God,” “Calling My Name,” and “God Favored Me.”

“God Made Me” is the song that offers “Daily Affirmations” to encourage and inspire everyday people while strengthening the faith of the believer.

“I’m A Conqueror, I’m Victorious, I Won’t Be Stopped. I’m A Believer, I’m An Achiever, I Won’t Be Blocked. God Made Me Who I Am”

Monday, March 7, 2011

“God Made Me” by the Mississippi Mass Choir

“God Made Me” by the Mississippi Mass Choir leaps 2 spaces to #12 on the BDS Billboard Hot Gospel Songs Charts this week.

“God Made Me” has been on the BDS Billboard Hot Gospel Songs Charts for 22 weeks overall and has spent the last 4 weeks at #14 before catapulting its way upward.

The single was penned by Jules Bartholomew who has written such hits for Hezekiah Walker and LFC as “Faithful Is Our God,” “Calling My Name,” and “God Favored Me.”

“God Made Me” is the song that offers “Daily Affirmations” to encourage and inspire everyday people while strengthening the faith of the believer.

“I’m A Conqueror, I’m Victorious, I Won’t Be Stopped. I’m A Believer, I’m An Achiever, I Won’t Be Blocked. God Made Me Who I Am”

Thank you to Gospel Radio and Urban Radio Stations that program Gospel music for spreading this powerful message of hope!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Updated Information On The Passing Of Marvin Sease

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011 singer Marvin Sease passed away unexpectedly. He resided in Vicksburg, MS. He was 64 years old.

A celebration of Marvin Sease's life will be held on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 1:00 p.m., at Word and Worship Church located at 6286 Hanging Moss Rd. in Jackson, Mississippi 39206. The event is open to the public. Bishop Jeffery A. Stallworth is the designated pastor for the church.

We are greatly saddened with the loss of such an amazing person, a hard worker, a talented singer, and a loyal friend to so many. Marvin was passionate, innovative, and loved his job and his friends.

R&B Singer Marvin Sease Dead at 64

Today is another sad day for the World of music, as we have learned that American R&B singer Marvin Sease has died today at age 64.

Marvin started his career singing with the Five Gospel Crowns in Charleston, South Carolina.
Soon after turning 20, he went to New York and joined up with a group called the Gospel Crowns.
After performing in the gospel circuit, Marvin decided to start an R&B group. He gathered his three brothers and built Sease.
He performed throughout the blues festival and blues club circuits.
His explicit lyrics were a turn from his gospel roots, but they gained him a huge following and much fame.
In 1986, Marvin released an independent album titled “Marvin Sease” and it featured his very popular song Ghetto Man.
He got his big break by signing with Polygram
Candy Licker was the song that propelled Marvin to stardom.
The lyrics were explicit and the song receiver very little airplay.
Still, the song was successful through word of mouth, jukebox play and live performances.
Ever since, Marvin has been recording and playing blues festivals and clubs ever since and has a cult-like following.
Marvin Sease was scheduled to appear at several blues festivals this month including Greensboro and Cleveland.

According to online reports, Sease passed away at Vicksburg, Mississippi just eight days before turning 65. Although it was rumored that Sease was suffering from pneumonia, the exact cause of death has not been revealed yet.

Marvin started his career as a gospel singer with diverse groups at a young age, but when he was 20 he moved to New York and there he joined the Gospel Crowns. But he quickly decided that he wanted to form his own R&B group and along with his three brothers he formed the band Sease.

Sease had big successes such as the 1986 song “Ghetto Man” and the 1987 track “Candy Licker”.

He continued his career releasing several more albums in the upcoming ten years. He was booked to appear in music festivals this month.

Malaco Artist Marvin Sease Dies February 8, 2011

Just days before what would've been his 65th birthday, blues artist Marvin Sease died of pneumonia at River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg, Miss. Best known for his infamous track 'Candy Licker,' from his 1987 self-titled, major-label debut, Sease carved a niche for himself as a raunchy, X-rated singer who used gospel, soul and blues to deliver explicit messages -- raw in content but smooth in execution. As such, he developed and maintained a solid fan base that, notably, tended to be females who took a liking to his word play.

A South Carolina native, Sease moved to New York by the time he was 20 to pursue a career in music. He got his start fronting several soul and gospel groups but soon began leaning more towards R&B. He secured a residency gig at a bar in Brooklyn -- Casablanca -- but also toured heavily in the south, where he appeared to be better received. When his record label, London/Mercury, released the ten-minute track 'Candy Licker' as a single, it became something of a jukebox hit even if radio shied away from it because of its explicit content. All told, the song propelled the debut album to number 14 on Billboard's R&B chart and transformed Sease into a strong live draw.

None of his subsequent albums were able to match his initial success, however Sease was able to maintain a core group of fans and he will remain relevant as a forefather of a certain sexually-explicit blend of R&B and gospel-tinged blues.

~ Spinner.com

Friday, January 14, 2011

Longtime Friend and Malaco Supporter Bobby Robinson Dies At 93

Bobby Robinson liked to recall how it all began: with him, a World War II veteran, sitting on a fire hydrant in front of a hat shop in Harlem in 1946. Hundreds of people (potential customers?) walked by.

His inspiration was to use all his savings to buy the shop and turn it into a record store that, as Bobby’s Happy House, became a treasured Harlem institution for a half century. The store spawned a remarkable recording business that helped launch artists from rhythm and blues giants like Gladys Knight and the Pips to the rap stars Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

Mr. Robinson died on Friday at the age of 93 in Manhattan, his family said. He had been one of the first blacks to own a shop on 125th Street, the fabled Main Street of Harlem, and his was one of the last old-time stores to battle the neighborhood’s relentless gentrification, albeit unsuccessfully.

Old-timers remember James Brown’s limo parked outside, and people breaking into a happy strut as they responded to the music tumbling onto the street. Mr. Robinson, known for his style that in later years included a cascade of white hair, did not sing or play music himself, but he produced, sold, found, promoted and simply lived it.

He was very good at spotting opportunities. The musicians who visited his store as they strolled from the Apollo to a nearby steakhouse inspired him to start his own record labels. He had many, sometimes with partners and often with colorful names like Fury and Enjoy. He recorded early works by Ike and Tina Turner, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and the Scarlets, later The Five Satins.

Mr. Robinson’s musicians were admitted to the rhythm and blues, rock and roll and hip-hop halls of fame.

His instincts were keen. In 1959, he paid $40 for an extra 15 minutes of recording time so that Wilbert Harrison could record one more song. The result, “Kansas City,” was a No. 1 hit.

“I record things that touch me,” Mr. Robinson said. “And I try to record them pure, 100 percent, no water added.”

Morgan Clyde Robinson, a grandson of slaves, was born in Union, S.C., on April 16, 1917, and as a teenager walked six miles to high school, where he was valedictorian. The Black Music Research Journal in 2003 told how he fell in love with the blues: he and other townspeople gathered outside a jailhouse window to listen to a talented singer. The incarcerated bluesman let down a pail for contributions.

During World War II, Mr. Robinson was a corporal stationed in Hawaii in charge of hiring entertainment, from big bands to a one-footed tap dancer. He amassed $8,000 in savings by offering sailors and soldiers another service: “I was the biggest loan shark there,” he told The New York Times in 2003.

Mr. Robinson headed for Harlem, where he had no problem paying $2,500 cash for the hat store — hats not included. “I said to myself I will open a small record store and if that fails, no one can say I didn’t try,” he told The New York Amsterdam News in 2001.

He hedged his bet by buying four electric shoe-shining machines. These were in the front of the store, the records in the back.

Shoe-shining was soon unnecessary. An early doo-wop group he recorded, the Vocaleers, who harmonized on 142nd Street, rivaled Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays as Harlem folk heroes, the music historian Philip Groia wrote.

Mr. Robinson got to know the powers of the music business. Ahmet Ertegun, the renowned head of Atlantic Records, stopped by to chat about trends. “He’s a major personage in Harlem,” Mr. Ertegun said of Mr. Robinson in 2003.

When Alan Freed, the D.J. who championed the new music, first broadcast in New York in 1954, Mr. Robinson helped answer phones.

Happy House acquired its euphonious name in 1956 in honor of a doo-wop song Mr. Robinson wrote for Lewis Lymon & the Teenchords titled “I’m So Happy,” a hit in the Northeast. (Lewis Lymon was the younger brother of Frankie Lymon, best known for a song with the Teenagers, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”)

In the 1970s Mr. Robinson became one of the first label owners to record rap music, presenting artists like Doug E. Fresh and Spoonie Gee. In the early 1990s he moved his store from 301 West 125th Street around the corner to Frederick Douglass Boulevard to make way for a KFC franchise. He was evicted in 2008 in favor of an office building.

Mr. Robinson is survived by his daughter, Cheryl Benjamin; his sister, Minnie Stewart; two grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

Another legacy is the catchy stage name of Gladys Knight and the Pips. When meeting the group, Mr. Robinson asked, “What the hell’s a Pip?”

The answer, The Times reported, was that the family ensemble was named for a cousin who used to sneak them into nightclubs.

“I said, ‘Gladys is the singer, so you better put her name out front,’ ” Mr. Robinson remembered. “They went for it, otherwise Gladys Knight would’ve been just another Pip.”

Published: January 12, 2011
New York Times

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mississippi Mass Choir - Countdown To 2-1-11

In just 3 weeks, the number one selling choir of all time, The Mighty Mississippi Mass Choir returns with the release of their highly anticipated ninth recording, “…Then Sings My Soul”
(2 Disc Set - Available in stores and online February 1, 2011) (Also available on DVD)

With the infusion of 100 new members, the 250 voice aggregation is as strong and vibrant as the day they first began.

The Mississippi Mass Choir debut single, “God Made Me” is currently in the Top 20 on Billboard & Mediabase Gospel charts and climbing. With just one listen you will know that although still true to its roots, this tree has branched out. The single was penned by Jules Bartholomew who has written such hits for Hezekiah Walker and LFC as “Faithful Is Our God,” “Calling My Name” and “ God Favored Me.” The featured lead soloist is a 2nd generation Mississippi Mass Choir member, the anointed Benjamin (Benji) Cone III; The son of legendary Rev. Benjamin Cone, Jr.

Founded in May 1988 by the late Frank Williams and his friend David R. Curry Jr., the group has won or been nominated for every major music award - Grammy, Stellar, Dove, Soul Train, NARM Best Sellers Award, Billboard Magazine Outstanding Achievement Award, as well as the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Success came quickly with their first three recordings reaching the number one position on the Billboard Top Forty Gospel Chart. Two recordings reached the number two position, with the subsequent recordings all reaching the top ten. They are dubbed by many as “The World’s Greatest Choir.”

After celebrating 20 years of music ministry, the choir’s main focus remains lifting up the name of Jesus.

Check www.malaco.com for availability.