Craft Recordings will be reissuing 25 digital releases from the Gospel Truth Records, (a subsidiary of Stax Records).
Kicking off with The Rance Allen Groupâs 1972 self-titled debut, new titles will be released every week in chronological order, leading up to Septemberâs 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.Â The label was intended to âcarry the message of todayâs gospel to the people on the street,â as promotional material for the labelâs 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 Truthâs 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 Groupâs 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 McCordâs âA Tribute To Mahalia Jacksonâ, released in response to the 1972 passing of the gospel titan.
Breaking away from the conventions of Jacksonâs more traditional sound, McCord instead opted to charge toward a deeper, funkier path – as heard on single âBetter Get a Move Onâ penned by Stax staff writer Bettye Crutcher.Â 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 Californiaâbased minister and radio show host Rev. Willie Bernard Avant, Jr., the St. James Gospel Choirâs sound isnât far removed from that of Southern gospel music – likely a holdover from Avantâs upbringing in Georgia. Similarly, âGodâs Newspaperâ, from Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choirin Detroit,Â drops the listener right into the excitement of a Sunday service. Recorded in the churchâs 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 imprintâs 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 âGospel Truthâ(out May 24th) and âGospel Easterâ(out April 12th), throughout the course of the campaign.
March 13: Â Â The Rance Allen Group
March 20: Â Reverend Lee JacksonÂ At Calvary
March 27: Â Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Choir â In Concert
April 3: Â Â Â Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir â Jesus People
April 10: Â Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choir âGod’s Newspaper
April 17: Â Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir- God Save Your People
April 24: The Howard Lemon Singers âMessage For Today
May 1: Â Â The Rance Allen Group âTruth Is Where It’s At
May 8: Â Â Reverend Bernard Avant & The St. James Gospel Choir
May 15: Â Â Louise McCord âA Tribute To Mahalia Jackson
May 22: Â Â The Commanders âWalk With Me
May 29: Â Â The Marion Gaines Singers âThis Too Is Gospel
June 5: Â Â Charles May & Annette May Thomas âSongs Our Father Used To Sing
June 12:Â Â Â Clarence Smith âWhatever Happened To Love
June 19: Â Â The Gospel Artistics â The Gospel Artistics
June 26: Â Rev. T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir âI Found The Answer
July 3: Â Â The Henry Jackson Company
July 10: Â Â The People’s Choir Of Operation Push
July 17: Â Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir âA New Dawning
July 24: Â Â Â Blue Aquarius âBlue Aquarius
July 31: Â Â Â Bob Hemphill & The Commanders âEverybody Will Be Happy
August 7: Â The Rance Allen Group âBrothers
August 14: Â The Howard Lemon Singers âI Am Determined
August 21: Â The Marion Gaines Singers âLeaning On The Everlasting Arms
August 28: Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir âGoodbye Loneliness, Hello Happiness