Title: The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: November 13, 2020
The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection is a two CD compilation of all of the gospel music singles released from 1972-1974 by the Stax subsidiary label, Gospel Truth. One of the many highlights of this set are the opening tracks by the most popular artist on the label, Bishop Rance Allen and the Rance Allen Group, who perform “Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)” and the song popularized by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “Up Above My Head.”
The Rance Allen Group was discovered in Detroit, Michigan during a talent show where they met blues and gospel music promoter Dave Clark, who was recruiting artists as one of the judges. The Rance Allen Group went on to record popular songs such as “Be True” and “We’re the Salt of the Earth,” and is truly one of the heroes of the gospel quartet music community. After the fall of the Stax subsidiary, they continued to tour and release music up until this year when Bishop Rance Allen went home to be with the Lord. His legacy lives on in his music and his ministry which touched millions of lives including my own. As a high school student, I had the opportunity to meet and perform with the late Bishop on a few different occasions, which was truly a blessing and learning experience.
One can also not forget the mighty fortress of sound that is the Terry Lynn Community Choir, who perform “His Love Will Always Be” and “Consider Me.” There is truly something iconic and specific about the timbre of Stax/Gospel Truth recordings during this era. The songs on this compilation feature the soul stirring effects of the method and space used to record vocals, creating a wall sound full of strong and passionate vocalists ministering the gospel message full of hope and deliverance. The same can be said about “At the Feet of the Master” by the group Blue Aquarius, whose vocals are lush and full, sitting over a slowly building string section that leads into the chorus proclaiming, “We’re all loved by his grace.”
If you are a fan of Southern soul music released on the Stax label, there isn’t a more beautiful present you can give yourself then the joy of music emanating from Stax’s great but short-lived gospel music subsidiary.
Reviewed by Bobby E. Davis