v/a – Gospel Funk – Secret Stash Records

In 1959, a woman by the name of Carmen Murphy attended a Good Friday mass in her home town of Detroit as she did every year. Ms. Murphy, the proprietor of the city’s first salon for black women, known as House of Beauty, found herself particularly moved by the musical performances that evening. In fact, she was so inspired that she decided to convert the basement of her salon into a rehearsal space for local gospel acts. Later that year, she funded the recording of local gospel star Rev. James Cleveland, and House of Beauty Records was born. Over the years House of Beauty was owned and operated by a number of different parent companies. It was during it’s time at Scepter Records in New York (’64-’76) that the label grew both commercially and creatively. It slowly transformed from a rigidly traditional label, mostly featuring a capella quartets and choirs, to a company with eclectic tastes and broader musical horizons. Throughout the 70s the label became more accepting of secular influence on its music and slowly but surely, some of the
recordings became straight up funky.
In the fall of 2008 Secret Stash began working with a local business man who acquired the House of Beauty catalog some years back. SS’s mission was to sort through his mountain of master tapes containing over 3,000 tracks in search of rare funky and soulful gems for vinyl reissue. After hundreds of hours they settled on a short list of material to press up on wax.

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