On February 23rd, Craft Recordings will reissue the definitive version of one of the most ambitious, groundbreaking records in the Stax catalog: The 24-Carat Black Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. Composed, arranged, and produced almost entirely by longtime Isaac Hayes collaborator Dale Warren, the album draws marked comparisons to the lush, transformative arrangements penned by Warren for the seminal trio of Hayes albums, Hot Buttered Soul,The Isaac Hayes Movement, and…To Be Continued. Often cited as one of the first concept albums in the soul, funk and R&B genres at a time when such boldly artistic statements were reserved for progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd, this ‘soul opera,’ featuring just eight tracks, is an entrancing mixture of lush, orchestral soul ballads and Blaxploitation-era funk grooves, split into vignettes dealing with aspects of everyday life in some of America’s poorest areas. Its unique blend of immaculately arranged grooves and socially conscious narrative launched the album into cult-classic status among DJs and producers who have sampled it for tracks, most recently by Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Digable Planets, Dr. Dre, and many others.
This pressing, released as part of Craft Recordings‘ “Made In Memphis Series,“ features 180-gram vinyl cut at Ardent studios on the original Stax lathe and pressed in Memphis at Memphis Record Pressing. The Old-school style tip-on jacket with printed inner sleeve contains new liner notes by Rob Bowman, Grammy® Award winning author of Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records.
Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital (96/24 and 192/24) on street date. Preorder on Amazon.
A1. Synopsis One: In The Ghetto / God Save The World
A2. Poverty’s Paradise
B1. Synopsis Two: Mother’s Day
B2. Mother’s Day
B4. Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth
B5. 24-Carat Black (Theme)
More about The 24-Carat Black Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth:
Composed of Larry Austin (bass); Tyrone Steels (percussion); Jerome Derrickson (saxophone); Ricky Foster (trumpet); James Talbert (electric piano); William Talbert (organ); and Princess Hearn, Kathleen Dent, and Valerie Malone (vocals), The 24-Carat Black was helmed by Dale Warren who famously orchestrated the strings for Isaac Hayes‘ albums Hot Buttered Soul, The Isaac Hayes Movement and …To Be Continued. This reissue of their lone studio album for the Enterprise label follows a 2009 archival compilation from the Numero Group entitled Gone: The Promises of Yesterday (2009), which collects previously unreleased material from the group.
More about “Made In Memphis” Series:
In connection with last year’s celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Stax Records, Craft Recordings paid tribute to the ambitious spirit of Memphis-based Stax Records by releasing a series of albums that embody the label’s diversity and inclusive nature. The series, composed of unique and historically underrepresented albums in the legendary Stax canon, celebrates some of the lesser-known stories from the label and the community that made it possible for the label to succeed and thrive as a distinctly American cultural institution. Featuring audio from the original analog tapes, remastered and cut at Ardent studios in Memphis on the original Stax Records lathe, each album in the series boasts 180-gram vinyl pressed at Memphis Record Pressing and new liner notes. Other releases in the series include John Gary Williams’ self-titled, soul-searching debut, Moloch’s blue-eyed psychedelic blues trip, and Melvin Van Peebles’ groundbreaking soundtrack to the Blaxploitation genre-buster, Sweet Sweetback’s Baaddasssss Song.