Secret Stash are at it again. This time they have reissued a heavy piece of Soul that was originally recorded in more tumultuous times. The Free Angela Lp was a benefit record originally released in 1971 on the Golden Triangle/ Sound of Soul Record label and put together as a benefit for the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis. The brainchild of Virginia record label owner, promoter and singer Alexander Randolph, it features the golden voice of Larry Saunders, who’s voice sounds like a combination of the greats Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield combined. The first half of the record was recorded in the famed Muscle Shoals studio, and has Saunders killing it on tracks like “Free Angela” and “Where Did Peace Go?”. The second half of the record was recorded at Sound of Soul studios and features Brother Love, Soul Encyclopedia, Tyrone Thomas and others. Smooth, conscious Soul at its finest, with a small injection of soulful Doo Wop sprinkled in to round it out. Standouts include “I Can Be” and the funky “Geraldine Jones” by Soul Encyclopedia. An upbeat, Funk filled Soul tune to finish up the record.
“She had a lot of things that moved her toward me, and sympathetically, I began to write some of the things that I heard and some of the things that I believed,” Sanders says. “My manager, he came up with the other things such as the Angela Davis Committee. The record didn’t cost but a dollar, and 50 cents went to her. I wrote the song for Angela Davis because she was a homegirl, and a lot of the things that they had on the news…I had my opinion about that.” – Larry Saunders, The Prophet of Soul
A street lesson in being socially conscious circa 1970, Free Angela, its Civil Rights and Vietnam Era references, still echoes loudly today. With a government shut down, unemployment still rising, major cities going bankrupt, and people still crying for peace, the message in these Soul tunes lend themselves to modern times as well. These are freedom songs. These are equality songs. These are songs of rebellion. Heavy Soul with a Gospel influence, this record is a definite piece that needs to be in your collection. A tribute to the influence Davis had as an activist, a revolution of people’s minds, Free Angela is a great example of the power of music. Released in the same year as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, the call to help your fellow brothers and sisters is loud and clear. Made for different reasons, but carrying the same social awareness message and the want to change in the world, these two records ran parallel lives for their causes. Whether you believe in the cause is up to you, but you can’t deny the power of Soul delivered on this record.
Free Angela Track Listing:
1. Free Angela – Larry Saunders
2. This World – Larry Saunders
3. Old Uncle Tom is Dead – Nitroglycerine
4. Where Did Peace Go? – Larry Saunders
5. Nobody Knows – Dickie Wonder
6. I Can Be – Brother Love
7. Baby Can’t You See – Tyrone Thomas
8. Paradise – Judd Watkins
9. Geraldine Jones – Soul Encyclopedia
Listen to the entire Free Angela Lp here:
Get the record here.