Friday, August 11, 2006

Malaco's Comeback

Call it a dream come true. In the 1990s, the Malaco Music Group, which also housed the subsidiaries of Savoy and Blackberry, delivered their powerful formula of Southern hospitality, irresistible gospel artists and the right hits to the public. Their efforts immediately positioned the music label to the #1 seat in the gospel music industry.

Since then, mega labels have taken over and have made smaller labels like JDI and Malaco look as if they were not only playing on a different field, but also in a different country. But those rules are changing with the historic music label focusing on redeveloping their image and placing heavy emphasis on their gigantic catalog. Part of their strategy to usher smaller labels to the forefront include their return to the traditions of ol' skool. The recently-announced album release of the long-awaited Caravans' reunion project, "Paved The Way", is well underway and will be dropping in stores on August 22, 2006. The infamous group (minus Shirley Caesar due to other engagements) are joining the list of the legendary groups doing reunion projects and will surely satisfy the sweettooths of America's traditional crowd. Evelyn Turrentine-Agee guests on the classic "No Coward Soldier" while the group jumps on some new tunes including "Holy Ghost Is Movin'" and "Show Some Sign" that are bound to become Caravan classics. They also revisit "Mary Don't You Weep" using the same flavor Aretha Franklin used on her groundbreaking "Amazing Grace" project.

Recently, Malaco released their biggest project to date: Gospel Legends. There's not too many offers that present an exclusive collection of DVDs and CDs featuring a Who's Who in traditional and contemporary gospel music gathered around a piano (Gaither-style) and an army of talented musicians going down memory-lane. Most of the artists assembled, of course, recorded on the Malaco label or still call Malaco home, but the idea is breathtaking and is done with such class. Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy jumps in on the set, while Kirk Franklin revisits his gigantic Savoy hit, "Joy". Then you have guest appearances from songwriter/choir director V. Michael McKay, Luther Barnes, Mosie Burks, Shirley Caesar, Edwin Hawkins, Dr. Bobby Jones, Dottie Peoples, Paul Porter of the Christianaires, the late Charles Fold and the multi-talented Williams Brothers jumping into the cast. Then add a few special interviews from gospel artists delivering their untold stories and revelations on their pilgrimage in gospel music and you have a treasure worth owning. The super project has been seen on television in commercials and have also made its way into record stores. And with three CDs and three DVDs creating the full and complete set, you are bound to be entertained for hours and hours and hours. The complete box of Gospel Legends retail for $60.00. Not bad at all.

This is, indeed, the start of a great comeback for the Malaco Music Group. We just love to hear a good success story.

Malaco Records (Official Website)
Caravans (Official Website)

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