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New Compilation Explores The Gospel Music Of Stax Records

‘The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection’ is out November 13.

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Gospel Truth

A new compilation offers a deep survey of The Gospel Truth Records – the gospel-focused imprint from legendary soul label, Stax. The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection, out November 13 via Craft Recordings, will be available in a variety of formats (including vinyl), and features all 17 singles – plus their respective B-sides – issued by the imprint between 1972 and 1974.

The announcement comes just in time for September’s Gospel Heritage Month, while the collection marks the finale of a months-long digital rollout of rare titles from the pioneering imprint.

Jared Boyd, a Memphis-based journalist and host of NPR’s Beale Street Caravan, wrote the collection’s liner notes, which feature new interviews with trailblazing gospel artist Rance Allen, as well as with Stax Records executive Al Bell and label staffer Mary Peak Patterson, who together, along with leading blues and gospel promoter, Dave Clark, established The Gospel Truth Records in 1972.

The imprint took a progressive approach to the genre and focused on bringing gospel music to the masses. On the production side, the team adopted the conventions of rock, funk, and soul to create a sound that resonated with a hip, 70s audience. Gospel Truth’s artists were also offered the same top-notch promotional considerations that were given to any of the secular stars at Stax: including fashionable outfits, eye-catching photoshoots, and high-profile bookings.

The imprint operated until Stax closed its doors in 1975. During that time, the imprint signed a diverse spectrum of acts, beginning with Detroit’s Rance Allen, who, along with his brothers, blended the message of the gospel with the popular soul, R&B, and rock stylings of the day.

Stax Gospel Truth liner Notes

In his liner notes, Boyd recounts many of the unique artists that the imprint produced. “There were the various uplifting arrangements of Chicago’s Reverend Maceo Woods and his Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir. There were the evangelical harmonies of Bob Hemphill’s Birmingham-based, all-white quintet, The Commanders. The label even made way for Blue Aquarius, a psychedelic orchestra donning an earnest agenda in support of a 15-year-old Indian guru. (Perhaps, the label’s titular ‘Gospel’ was not intended to be implied as exclusively that of the Christian church.)”

The roster also included Rev. Jesse Jackson’s People’s Choir of Operation Push, who chronicled the Civil Rights struggle; Chicago vocal group 21st Century (who later scored a disco hit, “Tailgate”, under the name of 21st Creation); soprano Louise McCord, whose cutting-edge message music was a highlight on the Wattstax Stage; and Operation Push soloist, and future Grammy nominee, Jacqui Verdell. Another signing was Joshie Joe Armstead – a backing singer for the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, and B.B. King, and an acclaimed songwriter who not only wrote alongside Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson but also penned hits for Aretha Franklin, Ruby Andrews, and Carl Carlton.

The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection will be available on November 13. Scroll down to view tracklists for the vinyl and CD formats, and pre-order here.

The Complete Gospel Truth Singles tracklist (3-LP Set)

LP1
Side A
1. The Rance Allen Group – Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)
2. The Rance Allen Group – Up Above My Head
3. Terry Lynn Community Choir – His Love Will Always Be
4. Terry Lynn Community Choir – Consider Me
5. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. and The St. James Gospel Choir – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (Don’t Let The Devil Fool You)
6. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. and The St. James Gospel Choir – God Is What You Let Him Be

Side B
1. The Rance Allen Group – There’s Gonna Be A Showdown
2. The Rance Allen Group – That Will Be Good Enough For Me
3. Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – The Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Marching For The Man)
4. Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – Jesus Is Waiting
5. Charles May & Annette May Thomas – Keep My Baby Warm
6. Charles May & Annette May Thomas – Satisfied

LP2
Side A
1. Joshie Joe Armstead – Ride Out The Storm
2. Joshie Joe Armstead – I Got The Vibes
3. The Rance Allen Group – I Got To Be Myself
4. The Rance Allen Group – Gonna Make It Alright
5. The 21st Century – Who’s Supposed To Be Raising Who
6. The 21st Century – If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

Side B
1. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push, Reverend Marvin Yancy – I’m A Child Of The King
2. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push, Reverend Marvin Yancy – He Included Me
3. Jacqui Verdell – He’s Mine
4. Jacqui Verdell – We’re Gonna Have A Good Time
5. The Rance Allen Group – I Know A Man Who
6. The Rance Allen Group – Hot Line To Jesus

LP3
Side A
1. Blue Aquarius – At The Feet Of The Master
2. Blue Aquarius – Know Him While You Can
3. Joshie Joe Armstead – Stumblin’ Blocks, Steppin’ Stones (What Took Me So Long)
4. Joshie Jo Armstead – Give A Little Loving

Side B
1. Jimmy Jones – Do It Yourself
2. Jimmy Jones – If I Had A Hammer
3. The Rance Allen Group – Be True
4. The Rance Allen Group – We’re The Salt Of The Earth
5. Louise McCord – Reflections
6. Louise McCord – There’s No Need To Cry

The Complete Gospel Truth Singles tracklist (2-CD Set)

Disc 1
1. The Rance Allen Group – Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)
2. The Rance Allen Group – Up Above My Head
3. Terry Lynn Community Choir – His Love Will Always Be
4. Terry Lynn Community Choir – Consider Me
5. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. and The St. James Gospel Choir – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (Don’t Let The Devil Fool You)
6. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. and The St. James Gospel Choir – God Is What You Let Him Be
7. The Rance Allen Group – There’s Gonna Be A Showdown
8. The Rance Allen Group – That Will Be Good Enough For Me
9. Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – The Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Marching For The Man)
10. Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – Jesus Is Waiting
11. Charles May & Annette May Thomas – Keep My Baby Warm
12. Charles May & Annette May Thomas – Satisfied
13. Joshie Joe Armstead – Ride Out The Storm
14. Joshie Joe Armstead – I Got The Vibes
15. The Rance Allen Group – I Got To Be Myself
16. The Rance Allen Group – Gonna Make It Alright
17. The 21st Century – Who’s Supposed To Be Raising Who
18. The 21st Century – If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

Disc 2
1. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push, Reverend Marvin Yancy – I’m A Child Of The King
2. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push, Reverend Marvin Yancy – He Included Me
3. Jacqui Verdell – He’s Mine
4. Jacqui Verdell – We’re Gonna Have A Good Time
5. The Rance Allen Group – I Know A Man Who
6. The Rance Allen Group – Hot Line To Jesus
7. Blue Aquarius – At The Feet Of The Master
8. Blue Aquarius – Know Him While You Can
9. Joshie Joe Armstead – Stumblin’ Blocks, Steppin’ Stones (What Took Me So Long)
10. Joshie Jo Armstead – Give A Little Loving
11. Jimmy Jones – Do It Yourself
12. Jimmy Jones – If I Had A Hammer
13. The Rance Allen Group – Be True
14. The Rance Allen Group – We’re The Salt Of The Earth
15. Louise McCord – Reflections
16. Louise McCord – There’s No Need To Cry

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