Ramona Stout has shared some of the rarest gospel around by black artists from the Midwest of America for No Other Love: Midwest Gospel (1965-1978). The selection is sourced from exceedingly rare 45s, many vanity pressings of less than 100 copies and remastered by Grammy-winning producer Christopher King. All but one of the tracks are appearing for the first time since their original release on this compilation for the Tompkins Square label, a specialist in music of historical importance and heritage from the USA. The tracks were found during an extensive digging mission between 2006 and 2011.
The label explains: “These recordings have been resurrected for a new generation of listeners. This collection is a tangible, immersive experience in the struggles, the victories, the failures and the lingering hope that defined Chicago in the post-Civil Rights era. Over the course of five years of vinyl hustling in Chicago’s South and West Sides, these 45s came into Ramona’s hands, mixed up in milk-crates stacked with northern soul, water-damaged jazz and Hall & Oates LPs. After much travel and time, Ramona has articulated the spirit that drove this music forward. In this collection, she writes of this music and its relationship to the struggling communities where the records were found.”
Alongside the stories, art direction by Grammy-winning graphic designer Susan Archie creates a handsome package of church congregations, basement recording sessions, family bands and children’s choirs, “drawn together by two threads” the label adds. “The first – hope – which holds fast and unchanging, even in the most trying of circumstances. The second – circumstance – the way these recordings fell into the hands of producer, Ramona Stout, in Chicago at the dawn of the Obama era, when she had just about lost hope in her American Dream.”
All tracks are used by permission: It’s Going to Pay – Bro. Randy Wilson; I Want You to Help Me – The Travelers of Zion; No Other Love – Messiahs of Glory; Christmas in Heaven – Rev. H.H. Harrington; Try Jesus – Gospel Carolets; The Number – Wondering Gails; Journey -Joanne & Sonny; You Can’t Make It – The Georgia Brooks Singers; God is Using Me – The Harmony Five; Christ Rose – Rev. John Thomas and the New Christian Fellowship Church Choirs; Black Pride – Rev. H.H. Harrington; I’m Gonna Stand Still and Do My Master’s Will – Sunday Night Service, New Home Baptist Church, Rev. Mack McCollum w/ Combined Choirs; Rocky Road – Joanne & Sonny; Why – Sister Mary Lucas and The Harambee Singers of Sacred Heart School.
No Other Love : Midwest Gospel (1965-1978) is available on Friday (November 8th) on CD or LP. It is distributed by INgrooves in USA and Cargo UK for Europe.