A Stranger I May Be: Savoy Gospel 1954-1986


2021 restock. 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 Harmonizing 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 proto-house. 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. Presented as a sixty-page mini-book, perfect-bound, with CDs suspended in card sleeves; beautifully 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.

Features Famous Ward Singers, The Harmonizing Five, The Sensational Six, The Gospel Harmonettes Specials, The Christones, The Staple Singers, Swindell Brothers, The Roberta Martin Singers, Jimmy Scott, Shirley Caesar and The Caravans, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Hightower Brothers, North Philadelphia Juniors, The Selah Singers, The Ward Singers, The Stars of Faith, Marion Williams, The Gospel Cavaliers, The Caravans, Eddie Williams and the Crusaders, The Davis Sisters, The Gospel Chimes, The Angelic Gospel Choir, The Angelic Choir, The Artistic Sounds, The Holy Lights of Baltimore, MD, The Swan Silvertones, Gene Martin, Myrna Summers, James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir, Betty Hollins, The Metro Tones, The World Wonders, The Brooklyn Skyways, Ida Maxey, The Thornes Trio, Mildred Clark And The Melody-Aires, The Highway Q.C.s, The Gospelaires Of Dayton, Ohio, The Exciting Supreme Highlights, James Moore, Prof. Charles Taylor and The Charles Taylor Singers, The Brockington Ensemble, Edith Moreno, The World Wonders, The Helen Hollins Singers, Solomon Burke, Genobia Jeter, The Lady Lois Snead with the Interdemoninational Mass Choir of Atlanta, GA, Charisma, The Stan Lee Revue, The Sensational Williams Brothers, The 4th Of May, James Cleveland And The Cleveland Singers, The Hollywood Stars, The Steele Family, and Glenn Jones And The Modulations.