Historic Compilation of ‘70s Secular Gospel Out September 13
The Second Volume In Our World Spirituality Classics Series
Today, Luaka Bop — the David Byrne-founded label behind epochal collections of music by Alice Coltrane, Os Mutantes, and William Onyeabor, among so many others — announces the September 13 release of The Time For Peace Is Now, the second volume in our World Spirituality Classics series. Unearthed from obscure 45s found in attics, sheds and crates across the American south, the collection presents a subset of seventies-era gospel, focusing not on Jesus or God, but instead on ourselves, and how we exist with each other. We capture an intense, soul-stirring version of gospel, unvarnished and honest, devout but never doctrinaire.
And listen to Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals’ “Keep Your Faith To The Sky”:
The Time For Peace Is Now provides a snapshot of a unique scene: a funky, secular strain of gospel that sprung up at the end of the music’s first golden age (post-WWII to the death of Martin Luther King Jr.) and in the wake of the commercial and cultural impact of The Staple Singers. The songs and singers on this collection are influenced by a heady mix of The Mighty Clouds Of Joy and Sly and the Family Stone, and released on small vanity labels with names like Lovie D, Du-Vern, Sen-oj, and Arc-Bel-Kno. While they struggled to get the attention of major labels, the artists — The Triumphs, The Gospel I.Q.’s, The Floyd Family Singers and many more — thrived on the gospel live circuit, and some are still performing to this day.
The Time For Peace Is Now was compiled by renowned soul DJ Greg Belson, and the liners include special essays from New York Times Best-selling author Jonathan Lethem (whose introductory notes are below), gospel expert Robert F. Darden and Pastor Keith L. Whitney, the Pastor of Sanctuary Fellowship Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.
Music as permanently strong and meaningful as this doesn’t come from where—it comes from the opposite of nowhere. It comes from individual inspiration fired and forged and upheld by community, tradition, and context. Some of these songs are made by unknown persons who remain hidden from view; some by working musicians who moved from occasion to occasion and circumstance to circumstance. In either case, the creators in question left behind the particular piece of amazement collected here as a testament of one moment of synchronicity. This music has arrived here to change the world at last, or again.
The songs on The Time For Peace Is Now are resplendent with love and yet are not love songs. They speak of life and death, care and disrepair, exultation and release, sorrow and pain, and exhort the listener to hold on, seek peace, let light shine, know joy, recognize the love in one’s fellows. All of this music fits naturally into a context of people trying to speak to other people about the condition of being alive. These tracks are here for you, to show you perhaps not the light but some light, and they remain ready, proud, strong and true.
The connection these songs avow to certain spiritual beliefs places them at the same Crossroads—of pop or soul, and their Church upbringing. These crossroads have long been trafficked in both directions. By now they’ve been reverse-engineered, turned into a giddy playground. The body of songs in this collection, thematically and lyrically, make a distinct commitment to staking out their turf right there at the crossroads. They want to have it both ways.
– Jonathan Lethem
The Time For Peace Is Now Tracklist:
1. The Little Shadows – Time For Peace – 4:45
2. Rev. Harvey Gates – It’s Hard To Live In This Old World – 2:59
3. The Floyd Family Singers – That’s A Sign Of The Times – 3:09
4. Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals – Keep Your Faith To The Sky – 5:06
5. James Bynum – We Are In Need – 3:55
6. The Religious Souls – Condition The World Is In – 3:42
7. The Triumphs – We Don’t Love Enough – 3:34
8. The Gospel I.Q.’s – Peace In The Land – 2:55
9. Staples Jr. Singers – We Got A Race To Run – 3:04
10. The Soul Stirrers – I’m Trying To Be Your Friend – 3:16
11. Willie Dale – Let Your Light Shine – 3:30
12. Rev. Harvey Gates – Price Of Love – 2:59
13. The Mighty Reverlaires – Sunshine After Every Rain – 2:38
14. The William Singers – Don’t Give Up – 3:00