We are thrilled to announce a series of vinyl reissues in partnership with the legendary Brunswick Records, one of the most important labels of the classic soul era.
We’ll be kicking off the series with vinyl reissues of two Brunswick classics, Jackie Wilson’s Merry Christmas From Jackie Wilson and The Chi-Lites’ (For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People. Using Brunswick’s original analog tapes, the releases were remastered for vinyl from by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering and frequent Brunswick collaborator Dennis Drake at his Music Lab studio.
Both reissues will first be available as limited edition color vinyl pressings, exclusively from Barnes & Noble, beginning November 20th for Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Weekend. Black vinyl pressings on 180gram audiophile-grade vinyl will follow for wide release. Read more about both releases below, and find pre-order links for each edition.
Just six years into his career as a solo artist, with a dozen albums already under his belt, Jackie Wilson was reaching new peaks in 1963. He had already earned his nickname, Mr. Excitement, for his reputation as a master showman and a vocal virtuoso, boasting a four-octave range. It’s not surprising that Wilson’s take on holiday classics like “Silent Night”, “White Christmas”, and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” were well received, scoring Merry Christmas from Jackie Wilson a place at #6 on the charts, making it the highest charting album of Wilson’s career. Previously out of print for decades, the album is finally coming back to vinyl, just in time for the holiday season. The release was mastered from original analog tapes and pressed on audiophile-grade vinyl for an unmatched listening experience.
The Chi-Lites’ third album, (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People, finds the group tapping into the social consciousness movement of the early ‘70s, presumably influenced by contemporaries like Sly & the Family Stone and fellow Chicagoan Curtis Mayfield. They had one of sweetest voices in soul music with Eugene Record, but their 1971 release showed a different side of the band, both in terms of lyrical content and production on tracks like “We Are Neighbors”. Ironically, the biggest single on the album was “Have You Seen Her?”, a sweet soul ballad which topped the R&B charts. “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People” was the best album the Chi-Lites ever released, and it’s finally coming back to vinyl for the first time in decades. The music sounds better than ever on this audiophile-grade vinyl pressing, mastered from original analog tapes.
More on Brunswick Records:
From pre-Motown Detroit to New York’s Brill building and Chicago’s Record Row, the story of Brunswick Records is the story of classic soul and R&B music. The label’s soulfully dynamic recordings seem to reflect the times and lives of the artists, producers and executives who created this timeless reservoir of hit music. The remarkable and sometimes turbulent story behind one of the most important labels of the classic soul era could fill a book or light up the silver screen. The Brunswick catalog includes nearly 100 Top 40 R&B hits, with more than 30 of those crossing over into the Hot 100 Pop chart. The Official R&B Hall Of Fame has enshrined The Chi-Lites and Jackie Wilson, while the latter is also a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee who has inspired artists from Elvis Presley and James Brown to Usher and Bruno Mars.
The legacy of Brunswick Records continues to resonate. In addition to the music’s popularity in films, TV, commercials and various digital platforms, the classic bass lines, horn licks and drum beats are continuously being re-used today through sampling by artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, K Michelle, Common, Joss Stone and American Idol winner Fantasia, to name only a few. On the evening of November 4th, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park preceded by the campaign’s official theme song, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” by Jackie Wilson, which was produced just a few blocks away at the former Brunswick recording studio on Michigan Avenue 41 years earlier. For these and so many other reasons it’s clear why Brunswick holds such a prominent place in music history.