Soul Jazz Records’ new Holy Church of the Ecstatic Soul: Gospel, Funk and Soul at the Crossroads 1971-83 is a one-off limited-edition heavyweight red vinyl pressing + download code exclusively for Record Store Day 2023.
The album draws upon the extensive links between Black American Gospel music and Soul music, showing how the sensibilities of gospel artists such as Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Andraé Crouch and others crossed over into secular soul music during this period.
Many of the most successful soul artists – from Aretha Franklin to Al Green, The Staples Singers to Sam Cooke – all drew upon their upbringing in the church for their musical inspiration. This album discusses how important the links between the Black church and Soul music were in creating Soul, and spotlights some of the many important (and also little-known) Gospel artists who walked this line between sacred music and soul, funk and disco in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Holy Church of the Ecstatic Soul shows how sacred Gospel music was at home with Stevie Wonder and Blaxploitation-style funk and produced music celebrated both in New York’s underground discos (The Paradise Garage, Studio 54, etc) and later sampled by the likes of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige.