(Photo: BET Networks) BET's "Bobby Jones Gospel" is ending after 35 years
Dr. Bobby Jones' BET show "Bobby Jones Gospel" is ending it's reign on the network after 35 years and maintaining the title of the longest continuous running original series on cable television.
The long standing gospel music show will air for one more season, according to an announcement that was officially made recently at the BET Networks' upfront meeting.
Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams honored Jones with a tribute performance after the announcement was made, according to BET reports. For 35 years, the show has welcomed gospel music's biggest names including Shirley Caeser, Vicky Winans, Dottie Peoples, Byron Cage, Mary Mary, Hezekiah Walker, Donnie McClurkin and more along with well known evangelists and people in and around the Christian community.
Jones, 75, spoke to the network about the official end of his show. He thanked the show's supporters, while speaking positively about the experience.
"I would first of all like to thank them for being our fans and for hanging in there with us for all of these yearsвЂ”for those who were able to do that. It's been a marvelous experience and I'm looking forward to a continued relationship, but [as for] Bobby Jones Gospel, it's the end," Jones told BET. "There's a little sadness that goes along with that, you know. After 35 years, what am I going to do?"
Last year, Jones spoke to The Christian Post about the challenges he had with the show. Since the show airs at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday mornings, many people who would tune in are attending their respective church services.
For this reason, Jones hoped that his program would garner a prime time slot.
"I think that's a consistent challenge to ensure that we're on at an appropriate time for all of the audience to be able to catch us other than being able to DVR it," Jones previously told CP. "I'm not saying 9 a.m. is not prime time, but a lot of people are in church 9 a.m. I probably would like to see an evening show on Sunday."
Still, the host of two gospel television and radio shows who started on BET when the network formed in 1980 says his faith enabled him to continue his duties on "Bobby Jones Gospel."
"My faith has kept me there because I understand that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I quote those passages and do that with an understanding, so I know that faith is essential for anything to develop," Jones told CP. "In the Christian world you must have faith, so I understand that. That's how it undergirds my ability to go forth in that manner."
The official air date of the last season of "Bobby Jones Gospel" has yet to be announced.
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Bobby Jones (born September 18, 1939) is a Grammy Award winning Gospel music singer and television host from Nashville, Tennessee and the host and executive producer of several cable television's Gospel music program including Bobby Jones Gospel.Biography
His wife is named Ethel. his stepdaughter is Sonnetta.
Jones has produced programs for BET since 1980. His shows figure prominently in the channel's Sunday lineup, consistently ranking in the Top 5 of overall BET weekly programming. In addition to his work for BET, Jones produced and hosted a similar half-hour program for WDCN-TV (now WNPT), Nashville's public television outlet, during the early 1980s. The show was seen early Saturday evenings.
Bobby Jones Gospel lays claim to offering the first prime exposure to several Gospel music solo artists and groups including Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, and Smokie Norful. Other artists featured have included Albertina Walker (Queen of Gospel), Patti Labelle, and Dorothy Norwood.
Jones also hosts shows for other television networks including Bobby Jones' Next Generation on the Gospel Music Channel and Bobby Jones Presents for The Word Network.
On radio, he is the host of Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown, a two-hour weekend Gospel countdown show heard on American Urban Radio Networks, in addition to the Bobby Jones Radio Show, which is heard on Sheridan Gospel Network.
Jones also oversees the Nashville Super Choir. The choral ensemble boasts prominent soloists and serves as the vocal collective for his BET series.
Jones hosts a bi-annual International Gospel Industry Retreat in Las Vegas, Nevada and Hollywood, Florida. He also helped spearhead an initiative for the Gospel Complex for Education & Preservation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a museum that will host Gospel music artifacts and serve as an information center for the history of urban contemporary Gospel music.
In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for the Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group with Barbara Mandrell for "I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today." Jones is also the recipient of a Dove Award, three Stellar Awards, and a presidential commendation from President George W. Bush.
Jones has authored two books. In 2000, his memoir, Make A Joyful Noise (St. Martins Press) included chapters about his tiff with the Winans family and his personal conversations with the Rev. James Cleveland. Both topics were controversial and caused some friction with Gospel’s first family and Cleveland’s music organization, the Gospel Music Workshop of America. In 1999, Jones released Touched By God (Simon & Schuster), a collection of inspirational stories by top Gospel artists about how God has changed their lives.
The Jones Family Singers will bring their powerful Gospel sound, infused with funk, soul and R&B, to Portland’s Merrill Auditorium Friday.
Photo by Lauren Logan
Bishop Fred Jones doesn’t want to be preaching to the choir. Or singing to the choir.
That’s why, more than 20 years ago, he decided to take his family Gospel singing group out of church and into auditoriums and theaters around the world.
“We were singing to the same people in the same places, who already went to church,” said Jones, 67, pastor of Mt. Zion Pentecostal Cathedral in Markham, Texas. “I thought we could do much greater outreach by singing for people who don’t normally hear this kind of music.”
The Jones Family Singers, which is Jones and seven of his eight children, backed by a rocking band, have gained an international reputation over the past two decades for high-energy live shows and recordings. On Friday, they’ll bring their foot-stomping show to Portland’s Merrill Auditorium. The concert is presented by Portland Ovations in collaboration with the NAACP of Portland.
The Jones Family Singers and their effort to bring Gospel music to the wider world were the subject of a documentary film in 2015 called “The Jones Family Will Make a Way.” It was screened at festivals around the country and also played SPACE Gallery in Portland this month, giving local audiences an advance look at the group and what they are all about.
Jones has fought hard to keep his family’s music religious, lyrically. He started his own recording company after other music executives told him they’d record his family if they didn’t sing the name of Jesus so much.
But music by itself is emotionally and spiritually powerful, Jones said. And that’s why it can touch people who don’t read the Bible and have never heard a church hymn in their lives.
“Because of who created music, it’s designed to unite, to uplift you and lift the load and give you a breather,” said Jones. “It’s the universal language.”
The Jones Family Singers recently performed in Russia, where Jones is sure few understood the lyrics. Yet everyone was on their feet, dancing in the aisles.
The Jones Family Singers come from a tradition of Gospel heavily infused with funk, soul and R&B. It’s the kind of music that, if you didn’t listen carefully to the lyrics, you’d think Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin was singing.
Jones grew up in a religious family listening to soulful Gospel groups on the radio and records. He said he decided to be a minister, and a singing one at that, after hearing a recording by the Gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy.
The Jones Family Singers’ sound is powered by the vocal harmonies of five of Jones’ daughters. His youngest daughter, Alexis Jones, sings lead in the group with a power reminiscent of Franklin. On stage in Portland, the group will likely be backed by two guitars, a keyboard, a bass and drums.
The group’s repertoire includes traditional Gospel tunes like “Dry Bones in the Valley” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” They also write their own songs, including the up-tempo “Down on Me” by Jones and his daughter Alexis.
They do songs by mainstream artists as well, including the ’70s feel-good tune “Love Train” by the O’Jays and the sober “All God’s Children Ain’t Free” by the late country star Johnny Cash.
Jones said he thinks the unifying power of music — Gospel music, especially — is very important right now, in light of the recent election and the divisive social and political climates.
“I think the need to unite people is more urgent right now,” Jones said. “I hope we’re a reminder of that.”Jones Family Singers
WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $34 to $40, $15 for students
A Texas-based gospel group with electric talent, The Jones Family Singers are “modern practitioners of a long musical tradition…infusing joyful and reverent songs with vintage soul, funk and R&B” (The Wall Street Journal). Consisting in part of five sisters, two brothers, and their father the Bishop, The Jones Family Singers have been tearing up churches and festivals alike for over two decades. Their high-energy, dynamic, and irresistibly charismatic performances have captivated audiences at the Newport Folk Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, SXSW , and many other prestigious events and venues around the world.
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The Jones Family Singers
^ Photo Credit: Lauren Logan
^ Photo Credit: Patrick Essex
Live From Mt. Zion (July 24, 2015)
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The Jones Family Singers cover Johnny Cash
Gospel sensations The Jones Family Singers team up with Grammy Award winning producer Adrian Quesada to revitalize a Johnny Cash classic In advance of their Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration tour and the impending inauguration, The Jones Family Singers have created a smoldering and uplifting version of “All God’s Children Ain’t Free” from Johnny Cash’s time-honored 1965 album Orange Blossom.
Posted Jan 12th, 2017
Live In Studio: The Jones Family Singers
From Houston Public Media Live In Studio: The Jones Family Singers Experience the contagious spirit of this Texas Gulf Coast gospel-soul-funk outfit. By: Troy Schulze The Jones Family Singers are an acclaimed family act led by Bishop Fred A. Jones, who presides over the congregation at The Mt. Zion Pentecostal Holiness Church in Markham, Texas. The group’s high-energy, gospel-soul-funk performances.
Posted Dec 12th, 2016
Jones Family Singers Bring Gospel to Brewery
From The Taos News Jones Family Singers bring gospel to brewery By: Ariana Kramer When Bishop Fred A. Jones Sr. was a young man he decided if he ever married, and if he ever had children, he would train them to be gospel singers. When he married Sarah M. Jones, she had four children already, and together they had three.
Posted Nov 5th, 2015
The Jones Family Singers-Live from Mt. Zion Album Review
From The Horn Album Reviews: Teen Daze, Elephant Revival, Jones Family Singers, Lizzy Mercier Descloux By: Maeri Ferguson The Jones Family Singers Live from Mt. Zion Arts+Labor For many folks, getting to see live gospel in a church is not accessible or convenient. But thanks to the electrifying sounds of five sisters, two brothers and their father known as The.
Posted Sep 24th, 2015
The Jones Family Singers at Monterey Jazz Festival
From San Jose Mercury News Monterey Jazz: Best bets for the festival By: Jim Harrington More than 500 artists will perform at the 58th annual Monterey Jazz Festival. And most — if not all — of them will be worth catching. Yet, there’s no way to be at all eight of the festival’s stages at once — trust us, we’ve.
Posted Sep 15th, 2015
Indie Minded Gallery: The Jones Singers – Newport Folk Festival – Newport, RI – July 26.
From Indie Minded Indie Minded Gallery: The Jones Singers – Newport Folk Festival – Newport, RI – July 26, 2015 By: Kelly Murphy The 2015 Newport Folk Festival took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 24th-26th at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. The Indie Minded crew was there covering the entire event. Today we have some images.
Posted Aug 5th, 2015
The Jones Family Singers at Newport Folk Fest
The true stars of the Harbor Stage on Sunday, though, were the Jones Family Singers who offered up joyous praise, sultry blues, and a kickass sense of humor. Their rendition of the soul favorite “Love Train” was one of the day’s best, and made for a much-needed early day pick-me-up. Read the full article here
Posted Jul 27th, 2015
Lone Star Sounds: New music from the Jones Family Singers
You can practically feel the sweat beading on every track of the Jones Family Singers’ Live from Mt. Zion. Produced by Fort Worth musician Curtis Heath (of Theatre Fire fame), this riveting, nine-track collection was recorded over two days in April at the Mount Zion Church of God in Christ in Markham, roughly two hours south of Houston, where Bishop.
Posted Jul 21st, 2015
Hear The Jones Family Singers Make A Soulful Call For Peace And Tolerance
The tiny town of Markham, Texas is home to 2.3 square miles of land, just over 1,000 people and Bishop Fred A. Jones’ Mt. Zion Pentecostal Cathedral. Mt. Zion is, in turn, home to the Jones Family Singers, consisting of Jones, five of his daughters and his two sons (among others). Veteran practitioners of electrifying southern gospel, the Jones Family.
Posted Jun 22nd, 2015
Terence Blanchard and The Jones Family Singers Close Out the 2015 Playboy Jazz Festival: Live Review
The joyous spirit continued with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The legendary group’s New Orleans brand of jazz sparked a second-line procession that snaked around the lower perimeter of the Bowl —complete with patrons waving white handkerchiefs. The next generation of jazz was personified by Our Point of View. A part of Blue Note’s ongoing 75th anniversary celebration, the super.
Posted Jun 22nd, 2015
The Jones Family Singers at the Texas Film Awards
From Getty Images AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 12: Bishop Fred Jones and Alexis Jones attend the Austin Film Society’s 15th Annual Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on March 12, 2015 in Austin, Texas. To see photos from the event click here
Posted Mar 15th, 2015
'The Jones Family Will Make A Way' Exclusive Trailer
From Indie Wire Watch: Gospel Singers Team Up with Atheists in ‘The Jones Family Will Make A Way’ Exclusive Trailer By Jena Keahon The first trailer has been released for Alan Berg’s “The Jones Family Will Make A Way,” which follows a surprising collaboration between a religious, musical family and an atheist critic. The documentary film follows a rural, Pentecostal.
Posted Feb 27th, 2015
Discoveries From globalFEST 2015
From NPR Discoveries From globalFEST 2015 The Jones Family Singers make hard-driving gospel funk. The five sisters, two brothers and their father are based out of out Texas. This album was recorded at Spoon drummer Jim Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studios in Austin. To read the full article click here
Posted Jan 14th, 2015
Worlds and Rhythms Meet, in Euphoric Result
From The New York Times Worlds and Rhythms Meet, in Euphoric Result By Jon Pareles One Globalfest group brought both the spirit and the party: the Jones Family Singers, rip-roaring gospel performers from Texas who include five sisters, two brothers and their father, Bishop Fred A. Jones. In their funk-driven set, the sisters harmonized tautly and did some dance moves.
Posted Jan 13th, 2015
The Spirit Speaks Through The Jones Family Singers
From OkayPlayer OkayPrayer: The Spirit Speaks Through The Jones Family Singers [Album Premiere + Interview] By Reverend Vince One hundred and eight years later, we are still figuring out what happened in that little church on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Many argue, as Michael Corcoran does, that along with Pentecostalism, rock n’ roll was born in that storefront church.
Posted Apr 1st, 2014
Meet The Jones Family Singers In Their New Video For "Down On Me"
From Noisey MEET THE JONES FAMILY SINGERS IN THEIR NEW VIDEO FOR “DOWN ON ME” By Lauren Nostro If you’re heading down to SXSW, gospel soul/funk group The Jones Family Singers should definitely be on your must-see list. There’s plenty to say about the group—comprised of five sisters, two brothers and their father—like the fact that Austin filmmaker Alan Berg.
Posted Mar 4th, 2014
Rolling Stone SXSW 2014: 25 Must-See Acts
From Rolling Stone SXSW 2014: 25 Must-See Acts The shows everyone will be talking about once the dust (and BBQ sauce) settles Why You Can’t Miss Them: Because Bishop Fred Jones Jr. has been presiding over the congregation at Mount Zion Church of God In Christ in Markham, Texas, for three decades, and the old-school gospel-soul-funk outfit he leads with.
Posted Mar 3rd, 2014
Jones Family Singers Honor Holy Spirit on ‘Down On Me’ (Song Premiere)
From The Wall Street Journal Jones Family Singers Honor Holy Spirit on ‘Down On Me’ (Song Premiere) By Eric R. Danton Think gospel and it’s likely that Mahalia Jackson is the performer who comes immediately to mind for the average, unsanctified listener. There’s plenty more where they came from, though: the Jones Family Singers are modern practitioners of a long.
Posted Feb 18th, 2014Jones Family Singers Holiday Gospel Spectacular
Texas based gospel music powerhouses The Jones Family Singers bring their soul and R&B infused sound to new heights with a holiday program based on faith, family, and fun. Performances highlight a mix of traditional Christmas tunes, seasonal songs, rearranged classics, and some of the band’s original repertoire. Live and direct from their family to yours, expect well known standards such as “Silent Night,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “First Noel,” “Joy to the World,” plus an a cappella medley of great holiday hits and much more. The Jones Family Singers will ring in the season with cheer and joy, bringing audiences of all ages to their feet to dance!
The Wall Street Journal calls The Jones Family Singers, “modern practitioners of a long musical tradition…infusing joyful and reverent songs with vintage soul, funk and R&B.” Consisting in part of five sisters, two brothers, and their father the Bishop, The Jones Family Singers have been tearing up churches and festivals alike for over two decades. Their high-energy, dynamic, and irresistibly charismatic performances have captivated audiences at the Newport Folk Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, SXSW , and many other prestigious events and venues around the world.
Modern practitioners of a long musical tradition…infusing their joyful, reverent songs with elements of vintage soul and R&B.
An unforgettable performance that drew inspiration from the blues, R&B and rock.
It was all joyful praise, brilliantly timed with one crescendo after another. If they hadn’t been playing in Webster Hall’s basement, they might have torn off the roof.
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