The Staple Singers Freedom Highway: Complete on 2LP
Newly Expanded Edition of The Staples Singlers Legendary Concert Recorded April 9, 1965 at Chicago's New Nazareth Church
Remixed by Steve Addabbo & Remastered by Mark Wilder from the Original Analog Multi-Track Tapes
Sony Legacy Recordings will release Freedom Highway: Complete - recorded live at Chicago's New Nazareth Church - a newly remixed, remastered and expanded edition of the live concert masterpiece recorded by the Staple Singers in April 1965 in support and celebration of that year's historic civil rights marches from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama.
Legacy's Freedom Highway: Complete is a state-of-the-art sonic verite capturing that transcendent Chicago gospel service from 50 years ago. Featuring previously unreleased performances, the spiritually uplifting service, "Pops" Staples' "Intro" and "Outro" and more, Freedom Highway: Complete puts the listener right in the church, with the Staple Singers, the choir, the band, and the congregation for a once-in-a-lifetime event.
An essential musical, cultural and historic document, Freedom Highway: Complete presents the full concert and service in natural ambient sound, remixed and remastered from the original analog multi-track tapes. First released on Epic Records as an LP in 1965, the original Freedom Highway album, constrained by the time limits of 12" vinyl, edited the New Nazareth Church concert and service down to key performance tracks. Newly expanded to include 30+ additional minutes of the original church service, the Freedom Highway: Complete edition marks the first-ever release of the full concert and service.
In March 1965, the American Civil Rights Movement galvanized around three historic voter's rights marches along the 54-mile highway from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, the state capital, public acts of protest which served as catalysts to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The first march (March 7, 1965) was dubbed "Bloody Sunday" after 600 marchers faced the billy clubs and tear gas of local and state police forces; the second (March 9) reached a standoff between police and protestors, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; on the third march (March 21), protestors were protected by 2,000 US Army troops, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard and numerous FBI agents and federal marshals. The route taken by the 1965 Civil Rights marchers has been named the "Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail" and is a US National Historic Trail.
Among those inspired by the message and activism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Selma to Montgomery marchers were Chicago preacher/singer/guitarist Roebuck "Pops" Staples and his children, Pervis, Cleotha, Yvonne and Mavis. As The Staple Singers, the family group had been recording folk-infused gospel since the 1950s, and, by 1965, had been signed to Epic Records by Billy Sherrill (the songwriter/producer who would bring George Jones and Tammy Wynette to the label).
On April 9, 1965, The Staple Singers returned to their local parish, New Nazareth Church in Chicago, to participate in a service inspired by the Alabama marches. In a spirit-filled set that runs from Civil Rights anthems ("We Shall Overcome") to traditional gospel ("When The Saints Go Marching In"), The Staple Singers introduced their own original material, including the just-composed "Freedom Highway," inspired by the Selma to Montgomery marches.
Throughout the set, "Pops" Staples showcases the six-string guitar skills that transformed, and united the worlds of gospel, R&B, soul, rock and blues music. An archetypal electric guitar master, his influence can be heard in the sounds of Curtis Mayfield, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Michael Bloomfield and many others. A pivotal event for the Staple Singers, the Freedom Highway: Complete performance is described, by Mavis, in Greg Kot's acclaimed 2014 book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers and the March Up Freedom's Highway as one of the most important moments of her career.
Five decades after Selma-Montgomery Freedom Marches and this jubilant celebratory concert, Freedom Highway: Complete takes on a new social and cultural relevance and urgency in light of current events. Produced by Nedra Olds-Neal and Steve Berkowitz, this newly expanded edition features additional material cut from the original release, all newly mixed by Steve Addabbo and mastered by Mark Wilder. The new Freedom Highway: Complete is a crucial document of this remarkable and important time in American history!
Roebuck "Pops" Staples, guitar, vocals
Mavis Staples, vocals
Yvonne Staples, vocals
Pervis Staples, vocals
Phil Upchurch, bass
Al Duncan, drums
The Staple Singers Freedom Highway - Complete Track Listing:
1. Intro by Pops Staples
2. When The Saints Go Marching In
3. The Funeral
4. Build On That Shore
5. We Shall Overcome
6. Freedom Highway
7. What You Gonna Do?
8. Precious Lord, Take My Hand (unreleased)
9. When I'm Gone
10. Help Me Jesus
11. Rev. Hopkins/Offering
12. Jesus Is All (unreleased)
13. Samson and Delilah
14. View The Holy City
15. Tell Heaven
16. He's All Right
17. Pops Outro/Benediction