Craft Recordings is celebrating the Gospel Truth with a new reissue campaign dedicated to that Stax Records imprint. Every week, the label drops a digital reissue of a Gospel Truth title culminating in the vinyl, CD, and digital release in September – Gospel Heritage Month – of a newly-curated singles collection. Various digital playlists and lyric videos will also be unveiled throughout the course of the series.
Stax chief Al Bell launched Gospel Truth in 1972, working in close coordination with radio promotions guru/producer/songwriter Dave Clark and Stax staffer Mary Peak Paterson. Early press materials for the imprint indicated that it sought to “carry the message of today’s gospel to the people on the street.” Clark, working as de facto A&R director, emphasized accessibility by pairing traditional gospel talents with young artists well-versed in rock, funk, blues, and soul. Stax creative director Larry Shaw afforded the imprint’s releases the same hallmark of quality as front-line Stax products. Over the course of over two dozen albums and singles, Gospel Truth cast its net further than the classic black American gospel tradition, taking in Indian meditative teachings (Blue Aquarius), white roots music (The Commanders), contemporary choral music (Rev. Jesse Jackson’s People’s Choir of Operation PUSH), and more.
The digital campaign, which kicked off in March, has already seen releases from artists including Michigan’s The Rance Allen Group. The trio of brothers took their influences from Motown, Philly soul, and contemporary pop and R&B, even reworking hit tunes in the process. The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” became “Just My Salvation.” Archie Bell and The Drells’ “There’s Gonna Be a Showdown” and Ron Miller and Orlando Murden’s standard “For Once in My Life” both acquired a spiritual theme. Also available now are numerous releases from Rev. Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Choir as well as titles from Revs. J.D. Montgomery and Lee Jackson, and The Howard Lemon Singers.
For this September’s Gospel Heritage Month, Craft will release a physical and digital collection from the Gospel Truth catalogue. Watch this space for full details as soon as they’re available. Below you’ll find the complete list of digital album releases of 25 Gospel Truth classics, while the collection will be due on September 4 (pre-order links to come). All of the digital releases are out now on your favorite download or streaming service.
Gospel Truth digital reissue campaign (Craft Recordings, 2020)
March 13: The Rance Allen Group – 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 – 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 – The Henry Jackson Company
July 10: The People’s Choir Of Operation PUSH – 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