Retailer, radio announcer and artist manager are only some of what she does. Quartet enthusiast Ms. Willie McClendon writes this regularly-appearing quartet column for Gospelflava.com.

Quartet Music Is Growing In Spite of the National Reports
July 15, 2008

What an interesting year so far! In the first six months of 2008 we have witnessed history in the making with the candidacy of an African American for the highest position in these United States of America —and not only that, we have also witnessed a female seeking that same position. We have seen the change in our economic status with the price of gas reaching an all time high and stocks plummeting to rock bottom.

The year has brought joy and laughter for some and others lots of tears but through it all we can stand on the word of God. Philippians 4:19 —"But my God shall supply your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Galatians 6:9 —"And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

The music industry is at an interesting place because, in spite of how it looks, new music is coming our way every day. Quartets are strong and they are putting out some great music. Let me pause a minute to encourage you to call your local radio station and ask them to play your favorite artist.

There is a lot of new quartet music available and I will mention some of the releases that I've heard. But I ask you to support your favorite group by purchasing their CD and DVD. Please don't record and/or bootleg!!

T Records under the leadership of Mr. Troy Sneed has released a group of young men called Supreme 7. These young men are electrifying and full of energy; their rendition of the song "Another Yes" is powerful and filled with uncontrollable praise.

The Malaco Group remains consistent with their promise to keep Quartet Music in the forefront as they have released some major hits from some of their artist. The Sensational Nightingales have released a new project that they are calling simply the Gales. Their radio single "Tell Somebody" is heating up the airways.

Margaret "Babe" Allison and The Angelics continues to make good music as they are currently receiving airplay for the song "God Has A Use For Me". I ask that you keep Ms. Allison lifted in prayer as she is sick and need the prayers of the saints. She is a warrior and has been singing for over 50 years.

b>The True Believers are going strong and have recently released their new project Break Through; The Pilgrim Jubilees ' project entitled "Jesus Got Me Off" is in stores; The Messengers' The Messengers Presents In The Church With The Messengers is in stores now; The Barnes Family has released The Barnes Family Reunion II. This compilation includes the family's patriarch, Rev. F.C. Barnes, Luther and the Sunset Jubilaires to name a few. This CD is filled with some powerful songs including one of the old traditional favorites "Old Ship of Zion" lead by Rev. F.C. Barnes.

Melvin, Doug and Henry are still producing great music. I recently spoke with Doug and he was excited about the music that the Blackberry family is releasing. In stores now and on the airways you can find music from the project Duets II. This CD features songs by some of their friends including Rance Allen, Keith 'Wonderboy' Johnson, Ron Staples, Harvey Watkins, Jr., and Cecil Washington, etc.; Doug has teamed up with Rev. Tim Rogers and they are singing a song called "I've Got The Love Of Jesus". This song is strong, the lyrics are wonderful and the leads are dynamic. This is a real toe tapper. The Texas Boyz are burning up the airways with the song "Dem Knees".

Keith Wonderboy continues to sing like a crazy man and have used his name to present some new artist. He calls the project Keith 'Wonderboy' Johnson presents The Rising Stars of Quartet Vol. 1, another Malaco release.

The Blind Boys of Alabama have released Down In New Orleans, with music that continues to bring awareness to those who were affected by Katrina; The Fantastic Violinaires are still singing and they have released Revived. Exodus 4-12 of New Jersey have released their new album; The Mellowtones from the Memphis, Arkansas area are getting ready for their next release; the group NuTestament of Jacksonville, FL is gearing up for their release Working '4 Jesus. They have a new rocking sound and their song "Working 4 Jesus" takes you straight to church; The Sons of The Soul Revivers and Alpha 7 Ministries have released their project entitled Golden Nuggets; ReFuge may be the name of a group that's unfamiliar to you, they hail from Brooklyn, NY. But let me tell you, they've put together some extra beats to "Resting Easy" recorded years ago by Martin Jacox and the Soul Stirrers that is sure to make their name a household word ; The Disciples has released Changed and they can be heard singing a song that is sure to catch on "Let's Have Church".

Be on the look out for Evelyn Turrentine-Agee's new release.

I recently heard that Paul Porter is getting ready to release his solo project on Light Records later this year. We will keep Paul and the Christiannaires lifted up in prayer.

The Gospel Music Workshop of America will convene in Nashville, TN, August 11-15, 2008 at the Opryland Hotel. The Quartet Division under the leadership of Tyrone Porter is making plans for some great and exciting activities for quartets. There will be seminars filled with information that will help take you and your group to the next level. GMWA is the placed where Everybody Is Somebody.

Ira B. Tucker, Sr., a true legend, lead singer of the world famous Dixie Hummingbirds passed on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 and was funeralized in Philly on Wednesday, July 2. Ira Tucker, affectionately called Tuck, was one of this world's greatest quartet singers, and he will always be remembered for his contribution to quartet music. Mr. Tucker's flamboyant style of singing has influenced many singers from all walks of life, and his name will go down in history as one who dared to make a difference with his musical performance. Let us continue to pray for his family. He was married to his wife Louise for 65 years.

In our next column we will begin to discuss the origin of quartet music and pay tribute to those who have made a contribution to the forward motion of this great music.

GOSPELflava.com recognizes the importance and impact that this genre of music is making in our lives and are happy to announce the launching of this column dedicated to quartets. It's Shouts and Drives. If you wish to contact us about a new quartet project, email us here.

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— column by Ms. Willie McClendon
July 15, 2008

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