VARIOUS - A STRANGER I MAY BE : SAVOY GOSPEL 1954 - 1986 [LP]
Cat. no: HJRLP079
Release Date: 23rd October 2020
An extensive, sumptuous survey of surely the mightiest Gospel label of them all. Sixty-one gems of stomping, rollicking, desolate, ravishing gospel music, intermingling with soul, blues, doo-wop, jazz, r&b, disco and boogie.
Covering 1954-1966, the first disc is infused and incandescent with the hurting, surging indignation of the Civil Rights movement. Twenty-four heart-stopping scorchers by giants like the Staple Singers and Jimmy Scott, alongside less celebrated names like the Harmonising Five of Burlington, North Carolina, and teen-group the North Philadelphia Juniors, culminating triumphantly with slamming, sanctified versions of Hit The Road Jack and Wade In The Water.
The second disc presents sublime crossings of gospel with the soul, funk and jazz of the Black Power era. Twenty rapturous cuts dot dazzlingly between Muscle Shoals soul, screwed breakbeat, Mizells-style fusion, disco and protohouse. Triumphant re-workings of Sly Stone, Donny Hathaway and Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters will have listeners throwing their pew cushions into the air. The third disc selects fierce funk, rapturous soul and transcendent disco and boogie, loaded with roaring choirs, rocking horns and popping bass guitars, super-charged with celebration and affirmativeness, from the years leading up to Savoy’s acquisition by Malaco.
Drawn from nigh-impossible-to-find 78s, sevens, twelves and LPs, hardly any of these recordings perhaps none have been reissued since their first release. The third disc opens with a stupendous onslaught by Edith Moreno which only appeared as a tiny handful of blank-label promos.
3 CD set is presented as a sixty-page mini-book, perfect-bound, with CDs suspended in card sleeves and the 2 LP format is presented in a gatefold sleeve, with full-size booklet; bothbeautifully designed, with stunning, rare photographs and original Savoy artwork. Sound restoration and mastering were done at Abbey Road.
Co-curated by Greg Belson, compiler of Divine Disco; with deep, extensive notes by Robert Marovich, author of A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music (University of Illinois), and host of the award-winning radio show Gospel Memories.
LP 1: Famous Ward Singers - I’m Getting Richer / The Harmonizing Five - I Don’t Need Nobody But The Lord / The Sensational Six - Let Freedom Ring / The Gospel Harmonettes Specials - How Much More / The Christones - Lord, It’s Me / The Staple Singers - Low Is The Way / Swindell Brothers - Trouble Of Mine / The Roberta Martin Singers - I’m Glad I’m A Witness For My Lord / Jimmy Scott - Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child / Shirley Caesar And The Caravans - He First Loved Me / The Blind Boys of Alabama - On Some Day / The Hightower Brothers - He That Believed
LP 2: North Philadelphia Juniors - There’s Something Within Me / The Selah Singers -
The Wicked Race / The Ward Singers - Let The Train Roll Easy / The Stars of Faith - Mean Old World / Marion Williams - Get Your Business Right / The Gospel Cavaliers - Are You Listening / The Caravans - Mercy / Eddie Williams and the Crusaders - They Won’t Believe In Me / The Davis Sisters - Earnestly Praying / The Gospel Chimes - My Jesus Love Just Bubbles Over / The Angelic Gospel Choir - It’s The Holy Ghost / The Angelic Choir - Wade In The Water