24 Carat Black – 1973 – Ghetto : Misfortune’s Wealth

This is a hidden cult classic on Stax.

How this title managed to get buried so deep inside of the Stax catalog of classic material I don’t know. What I do know that is Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth easily holds company with some of the better know heavyweights of Stax Records lore (Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes etc).

Soulful grooves and thought provoking consciencous lyrics are blended together beautifully. Your bound to have heard (although without really having much of an idea that it was from this project) a lot of material on this sampled by some of hip hop giants including Rakim,Dr. Dre & KRS-One.

This album is a must have for true fans of 70’s R&B music.

Very tight, a masterpiece. One of the most sampled albums ever.

My personal best are the jazzy groover “24 Carat Black Theme” – a killer funky number, with a wonderfully spacey groove and 12.40 minutes“Poverty’s Paradise”.

Don’t Sleep.

Tracks
A1 Synopsis One: In The Ghetto / God Save The World (8:34)
A2 Poverty’s Paradise (12:40)
A3 Brown-Baggin’ (6:45)
B1 Synopsis Two: Mother’s Day (2:04)
B2 Mother’s Day (9:46)
B3 Foodstamps (6:26)
B4 Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth (3:41)
B5 24-Carat Black (Theme) (7:17)

Classically trained Detroit arrangerDale Warren got his start with the famed Motown label and, from the late ’60s throughout the early ’70s, composed the majority of string scores for soul artists on Stax Records (arranging for such artists as Billy Eckstine, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, and the Staple Singers, among others). During this time, Warren befriended an up-and-coming Cincinnati soul outfit called the Ditalians. After he convinced them to change their name to 24-Carat Black, he took them under his wing — both composing and producing their lone album, 1973’s Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth, a conceptual work that focused on life in the inner city. The album went unnoticed and fell through the cracks shortly thereafter, as 24-Carat Black never issued any other recordings. But over the years, Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth became a sort of cult classic among hip-hop artists, as such acts as Heal, Young Disciples, and Digable Planets used samples from the album for their own tracks. Long out of print, Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth was finally issued on CD in 1995. The members of 24-Carat Black would later turn up in the group Shotgun.

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The Reviews

1

Rare soul album, arranged by Dale Warren who worked a long time for the tamla motown from 1969 till 1974. This only album of 24-Carat Black was a tribute about life in the inner city, with a lot of emotions, great soul gospel vocals, and funky instrumentals. A masterpiece sampled by so many hip hop artists.

2

This album is quite hard to track down, but well worth it.It isn’t the most upbeat of records, detailing the harshness of ghetto life in America during the seventies, but the sheer quality of the music makes it an album you’ll find listening to time and again.The (numerous) musicians never worked together again, which makes this album a brief example of what might have been.Standout tracks are ‘Brown-Baggin’ and ‘Foodstamps’ but the whole album is a stunning example of more chilled and darker funk.

3

A one-off concept album that’s a big fat soul-RnB gem. There’s 25 people on the personnel list, of which over 1/3 form a string section, so it has that wonderfully full sound. The album’s concept is inner city struggle which gives it a political and serious feel, the whole thing feels quite dark. Fans of the early-70s socio-concious works by Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, fans of the musical waves of Herbie Hancock or Isaac Hayes, or fans of funk-based hip hop should each be able to latch onto Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth with keen interest.

4

One of the lat great classics fron the Stax vaults, a tragedy on & off the disc. This was the brain child of in-house producer Dale Warren- who did orchestration for Isaac Hayes- and the music is very much in the same style of Hayes, but lyrically with the theme of 70’s social strife & deprivation running through the album (kind of a soul concept album), the mood of the album is sometimes almost hard to listen to given the subject, even more so when you find out about about the fate of Dale Warren & his young protege singers (they would never again appear on vinyl), but the beauty of the music lifts it above melancholy nearly to the heights of ‘masterpiece’.

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Comments

  1. DJ Abe says:

    Thank you…..

  2. this album kicks ass! a jammin’, groovin’, thought provokin’ record. thanks nikos.