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Rake's Thinking Again? More Thoughts...

For an awards presentation founded by a TV production company, would it be too much to have all its awards at listed, if not actually presented, on the telecast? I shouldn't have had to rely on print or the 'web to find out who grabbed the trophy for, among others, rap/hip hop gospel CD of the year (Lil iRocc Williams, f.y.i.).   

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Just how antithetical to the spirit of the event would it be to have a red carpet fashion critique before the ceremony? If E! or the Style Network wouldn't be interested, BET might be. And so long as Isaac Mirhazi isn't invited to feel up, say, Dottie Peoples' mammarial assets (per Mirhazi's behavor with some distaff celebrities entering the Golden Globes' ceremony), it would go on without a glitch...if it would be appropriate at all.

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Was the person in charge of closed captioning for the deaf this year completely unfamiliar with the music being celebrated? How else to explain the misspellings of producer/artist Percy Bady (Batey?) and GospoCentric Records (GospelCentric?)? 

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Did Donald Lawrence borrow the shirt under his suit jacket from Matthew "The government is giving away billions of dollars!" Lesko or The Riddler? And just how far over the top was the inclusion of a dancing nurse in the stage piece for his group's performance of "Healed"? Lawrence's strong suit must not be understatement, yes?

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Are we as a culture so used to used to thinking of angels as female that, even when  Shirley Caesar refers to an angel of the Lord as "he" in her and Dallas Lockett's lovely "Jailbird," a gal was cast for the part in Caesar's and Lockett's performance of the song? Or couldn't the Stellars organizers find any guy who wanted to be suspended above the stage for the length of the song?

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In the right setting, doesn't Yolanda Adams resemble Queen Latifah's taller, thinner older sister? 

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How could  Fred Hammond's notable achievements be recognized, per the trophy sponsored by Chevrolet he was presented, and role in Commissioned, a group nearly as influential in general market R&B as it was in soul gospel circles, not be mentioned somewhere in the presentation? 

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 Was it me, or did anyone else notice the absence of co-hostess Vickie Winans from the lifetime achievement award honors paid to the family into which she married? 

Was her divorce that acrimonious and/or is she that big a diva? Or is there a bug up the collective backside of those born with the Winans name? 

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Wasn't it a bit of an overstatement for co-host Donnie McClurkin to credit Kirk Franklin's R&B crossover success for the dash of hip hop he added to gospel back in 1993? If memory serves, there wasn't much very hippy hoppy on Franklin's first album with the Family, and its big R&B radio hit, "Why We Sing," was Franklin's channeling of influence from Elton John's "Benny and the Jets" rather than anything by any rappers nor DJ's. 

Maybe McClurkin made such a remark because Franklin's a better talker and (marginally better) rapper than he is a singer (and because they were on the TelePrompter)?

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Israel Houghton made for a fine balance to Winans and McClurkin for co-host duties, but doesn't he look better without the scraggle of a goatee he was sporting? Methinks so. 

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Cool though it was to see the Mississippi Mass Choir and exuberant lead singer Mosie Burkes on national TV, didn't the tops of their robes resemble candy canes...or barber poles?

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I understand that they work within the musical framework of the (sub)genre for which they won the award, but still, how do The Soul Seekers, who show eight members on their CD cover and have six of them come up to accept their prize, win the nod for quartet of the year? That said, that's one hot album that won them the honor.

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Michael W. Smith? Good for him on co-presenting one of the statuettes and getting in some hype for his new movie, however little his music is played on the radio format for which the awards exist.

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Pat Robertson has made some idiotic, irresponsible public pronouncements of late, but you know what?

He's only voicing the same kind of of ill-informed impulsiveness that can be heard in some circles at my, and maybe your, church. The mumblings among a few folks in my congregation about how the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were brought about by the country's scourge of homosexuality and Lord only knows what else are fresh in my ears as they were when I heard them at the service my assembly had the night of 9/11/01. Such thoughts weren't far afield from the theories posited by Robertson and Jerry Falwell in the days immediately following the terror attacks. Both were wise and/or pressured enough to recant and repent. The spiritualized conspiracy mongers in my local body have probably mellowed with time and further rumination, too. 

No one at my church, and probably yours, is a multi-millionaire with access to his own global media network. Therein lies the difference between Robertson's spouting off about world leaders and natural disasters and most of the would-be pundits in our own pews. It's a matter of degree, but the temperature's getting pretty sweaty at CBN.

No matter the good Robertson's evangelism, charity work and diet shakes have done, it's time for a 700 Club co-host less given to provoking undue outrage.

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What's Fat Joe doing lately in his raps name-checking Kirk Franklin and, less reassuringly, a certain Afrimerican TV preacher given to modalism and prosperity gospel sermonizing? Maybe the latter could at least school the portly Puerto Rican on losing some poundage.

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Ever bite off a bit more than you could chew? 

Did that with my intentions to review more Christmas albums for your favorite and least costly' Tollbooth this past holiday season. So, in case they, their publicists and/or record company suits are reading this, my apologies go out to MercyMe, Sandy Patty, The Cheetah Girls and anyone else whose Christmas projects from last year didn't receive my intended critique.  

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I'm not the only one still feeling a bit diffident about T-Bone copping the imagery of murderous Stalinist revolutionary Che' Guevara for his latest album's artwork, am I? After my first expression of concern to his publicist, someone from 'Bone's label  wrote to assure me that the prolific Dominican-American rapper's not advocating totalitarian communism, but just trading in on the hipster chic that posits Guevara as a revolutionary. T-Bone, so the logic follows, is as revolutionary for the Lord.

Fine, I guess, but couldn't the same be said for Adolph Hitler? Let's hope John Reuben doesn't go the route of adopting Der Fuhrer's signature look to similar ends (unless it's as part of a touring company ofThe Producers). 

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Isn't Jesus People U.S.A. a box set begging to happen?

Just think of the musical output of the Chicago mega-commune. Resurrection Band, Glenn Kaiser's various post-Rez guises, Crashdog, Kettleblack, Seeds, Grace & Glory, The Blamed, Headnoise, Cauzin' Effekt, Ballydowse, Leper, Unwed Sailor, The Remnants, Scientific, Rick Williams, The Holy Ghost Players (of whose lone long player I should still send a dub to Stan Freberg), The Crossing, Many Are Called But Few Can Stand It, ownership of a recording studio where some of early Windy City's formative house music 12-inch singles were laid down and more commends the idea of a multi-disc retrospective of the self-contained neighborhood's past and present creativity. 

Don't hold your breath, but don't tell me it's not worth becoming reality, either. 

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Going further back into Jesus hippie history, who else out there's psyched for the forthcoming CD-ROM of Hollywood Free Paper back issues? 

Perhaps JPUSA should do likewise with the collected print issues of Cornerstone? 

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Anyone else remember the brief while in the '90s when Ray Charles was promoted to soul gospel radio because he recorded a song that has "God" in its title? OK, I only brought that up to comment on how Jamie Foxx's Charles impersonations on singles by his rapper friends will should be getting old any minute now. Whether Charles was a believer? Here's hoping.  

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How politically incorrect is it to point out the late Martin Luther King's liberal theology and globalist/socialist tendencies? That's not to say he didn't do a load of godly good, but neither should we be deluded as to some of his agenda, yes?    

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Isn't it a shame that Lou Rawls didn't record more gospel before he died? His one full-on sacred solo album from a few years ago was mighty good, though, even if he didn't perform anything from it when I saw him perform a casino concert around the time of its relesse. The key words in determing that he wouldn't be singing gospel then were "casino concert," I imagine.

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Ever seen pictures of different people put side by side in order to speculate whether they were separated at birth? If the same thing worked for people's voices, just how much do Josh Bates and Greg Long sound like long (sorry!) lost twin brothers? Beaucoup, to my ears.

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Now that she's hosting a pre-Super Bowl soul gospel concert, how soon might Patti Labelle record an album of sacred songs? Goodness knows she could whup some of the genre's divas at their own game.

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When's the last time a song on the radio got you crying? Heard and reviewed it already, but  Sufjan Stevens' song about John Wayne Gacy, Jr. on a year-end favorites countdown show by one of my favorite DJ's turned open the waterworks, you bet.

When's the last time that happened for me to a song I heard on Christian radio? It almost  happened the first time I heard Natalie Grant's "Held", but before that? I'll get back to you, OK? 

   

Jamie Lee Rake, 
Your Questioner of the (Sub-)Cultural Status Quo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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