Various Artists - A Stranger I May Be: Savoy Gospel [1954 to 1986] [CD Version]
Comprehensive gems from Savoy Gospel's discography, across 3 CDs and a lush sixty page booklet.
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 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 Savoys 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.
+ Sixty page mini-book with rare photographs and original Savoy artwork.
+ CDs suspended in card sleeves.
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.
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