New Digital Gospel Reissue Series From Craft Records

Craft Recordings will be reissuing 25 digital releases from the Gospel Truth Records, (a subsidiary of Stax Records).

Kicking off with The Rance Allen Group’s 1972 self-titled debut, new titles will be released every week in chronological order, leading up to September’s Gospel Heritage Month.

In addition to the digital reissues, there will be a singles compilation, released on September 4thon vinyl, CD and digital plus several playlists and new video content.

Established in 1972, Gospel Truth was conceived of by Stax executive Al Bell, who enlisted the help of radio promotions pioneer and songwriter Dave Clarkand label staffer Mary Peak Pattersonto oversee the formation of the imprint. The label was intended to “carry the message of today’s gospel to the people on the street,” as promotional material for the label’s launch touted.

But what separated Gospel Truth from other labels in the genre was that it made its music accessible to everyone. With his sharp eye for talent, Clark paired down home, traditional gospel musicians with raw, revolutionary artists that adopted the conventions of rock, funk and soul, creating a sound that resonated with a hip, 1970s audience.

Clark and Peak also gave Gospel Truth’s artists the same high-level promotional considerations that were given to any of the secular stars at Stax: from outfits and photo shoots to bookings.

The Rance Allen Group’s 1972 self-titled debut saw the Michigan-based trio of brothers turned the popular local stylings of Motown upside-down – offering a subversive and defiant take on seminal Detroit soul, and juxtaposing their spiritual foundation with secular influences.

Another highlight in the catalogue is Louise McCord’s ‘A Tribute To Mahalia Jackson’, released in response to the 1972 passing of the gospel titan.

Breaking away from the conventions of Jackson’s more traditional sound, McCord instead opted to charge toward a deeper, funkier path – as heard on single ‘Better Get a Move On’ penned by Stax staff writer Bettye Crutcher. McCord also went on to give an electrifying performance at the Wattstax concert later that year.

Taking a more traditional route is Reverend Bernard Avant & The St. James Gospel Choir. Directed by the Southern California–based minister and radio show host Rev. Willie Bernard Avant, Jr., the St. James Gospel Choir’s sound isn’t far removed from that of Southern gospel music – likely a holdover from Avant’s upbringing in Georgia. Similarly, ‘God’s Newspaper’, from Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choirin Detroit, drops the listener right into the excitement of a Sunday service. Recorded in the church’s sanctuary, the album includes a sermon by Rev. Montgomery, as well as powerful selections by the Greater Mt. Carmel Choir.

In celebration of Gospel Heritage Month, Craft will also produce a compilation from the imprint’s catalogue on vinyl, CD and digital formats on September 4th. Gospel music fans can look forward to the release of new lyric videos, plus two special playlists, titled “Gospel Truth”(out May 24th) and “Gospel Easter”(out April 12th), throughout the course of the campaign.

Gospel Truth Digital Album Releases:

March 13:    The Rance Allen Group

March 20:   Reverend Lee Jackson At Calvary

March 27:   Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Choir – In Concert

April 3:      Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – Jesus People

April 10:   Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choir –God’s Newspaper

April 17:  Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir- God Save Your People

April 24: The Howard Lemon Singers –Message For Today

May 1:     The Rance Allen Group –Truth Is Where It’s At

May 8:    Reverend Bernard Avant & The St. James Gospel Choir

May 15:    Louise McCord –A Tribute To Mahalia Jackson

May 22:    The Commanders –Walk With Me

May 29:    The Marion Gaines Singers –This Too Is Gospel

June 5:     Charles May & Annette May Thomas –Songs Our Father Used To Sing

June 12:    Clarence Smith –Whatever Happened To Love

June 19:    The Gospel Artistics – The Gospel Artistics

June 26:   Rev. T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir –I Found The Answer

July 3:     The Henry Jackson Company

July 10:    The People’s Choir Of Operation Push

July 17:   Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir –A New Dawning

July 24:     Blue Aquarius –Blue Aquarius

July 31:     Bob Hemphill & The Commanders –Everybody Will Be Happy

August 7:   The Rance Allen Group –Brothers

August 14:  The Howard Lemon Singers –I Am Determined

August 21:  The Marion Gaines Singers –Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

August 28: Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir –Goodbye Loneliness, Hello Happiness

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