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RnB 23/06/2021

Numero Group Delivers The Definitive Tribute To Gospel Music's Living Legend, Pastor T.L. Barrett: I Shall Wear A Crown

Numero Group Delivers The Definitive Tribute To Gospel Music's Living Legend, Pastor T.L. Barrett: I Shall Wear A Crown

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Today, the eleven-time GRAMMY-nominated Numero Group announces I Shall Wear A Crown, a definitive statement on the fifty-year career of Pastor T.L. Barrett. Out September 24th, the all-encompassing box set is the most comprehensive tribute ever assembled to South Side Chicago's fabled preacher and long-overlooked gospel music pioneer. Featuring 49 tracks spread across five LPs, the collection includes reissues of the essential Like A Ship… (Without A Sail), Do Not Pass Me By Volume 1 & Volume 2and I Found The Answer records, plus a bonus album of singles and sermons that further prove why Radiohead's Colin Greenwood credits Barrett with creating "the most euphoric celebratory music that makes you want to jump around the house and explode with joy."

To hear how T.L. Barrett used gospel to bridge the gap between multiple generations and genres, listen to 1979's "Lord's Prayer" b/w "Said It Long Time Ago," two long out of print singles now available everywhere via Numero Group:

Backed primarily by his 45-piece Youth For Christ Choir, the music of I Shall Wear A Crown captures Pastor T.L. Barrett's two prolific decades of writing, recording and performing from the 1960s to 1980s. Through an illustrated discography and 10,000-word liner notes from Chicago authors and gospel experts Aaron Cohen and Aadam Keeley, the compendium also delivers an inspiring, surprising blow-by-blow account of the dozens of lives Barrett has lived. From high school dropout to higher power, sinner and saint to Stax recording artist, Stephen Curry soundtrack and Kanye West sample, Barrett still leads his same congregation at the Life Center COGIC (Church of God in Christ), known colloquially as Chicago's Prayer Palace, as his disciples continue to grow on a massive mainstream scale.

Of the signature 1971 spiritual soul jam, "Like A Ship," Jim James says, "The groove being laid down by Barrett, Richard Evans, and drummer Charles Pittman is arguably one of the greatest the good Lord ever beamed down to earth." Half a century since the song's release, Pastor T.L. Barrett has recently popped up in all corners of pop culture. Kanye West famously used Barrett's "Father I Stretch My Hands" in "Father Stretch My Hands," "Nobody Knows" was sampled in T.I.'s "Black Man" (feat. Quavo, Meek Mill, RaRa) and DJ Khaled's "Nobody" (feat. Alicia Keys & Nicki Minaj), and "Like A Ship" has appeared in The Knocks' "All About You" (feat. Foster The People) and a new cover from Leon Bridges. His music has also been heard in advertisements for Apple, AT&T, ESPN, Facebook, Google, the NBA, Peloton, Under Armour and more, as well as films like Netflix's Barack Obama biopic Barry, Crip Camp and Lion, and episodes of Amazon's Hunters, CW's Black Lightning and HBO's Hacks.

Pastor T.L. Barrett's journey has unfolded as much in the streets as the Church, a path paved by redemption and forgiveness. Embracing the activist traditions of Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barrett's tenure as preacher and leader of the people began with outreach programs he built in his late twenties, focused on uplifting Chicago's underserved and supporting the city's disenfranchised youth. His weekly Youth For Christ Gatherings served as the basis for his Youth For Christ Choir, and his mission of community empowerment was so influential that he attracted local luminaries like Donny Hathaway and Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White, among many of Chicago's top session musicians. He extended the Black Church's history of political participation. In his sermons he blended social and racial commentary with deep biblical parables and sometimes witty takes on cartoons and television commercials; in his songs he introduced synthesizers, cited R&B, deployed hip language and interpolated hits by Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Carole King and more to spread messages of hope and humanity.

"The work we have done with the music of Pastor T.L. Barrett is amongst Numero's most rewarding achievements in our 18 year history," says Numero Group Co-Founder Rob Sevier. "When we first met with Pastor Barrett in his church basement in 2008 on Chicago's South Side, this music was a footnote in his storied career. Fifty years later, it's rising to the front page. The music speaks for itself, but Numero is incredibly proud to shepherd it into the world, sharing it with producers, DJs, music supervisors, and fans who never would have encountered his music otherwise. I Shall Wear A Crown is an organic culmination of our journey together over a dozen years, a body of work that's time has just arrived."

In the growing noise of the so-called reissue field, The Numero Group remains distinct in its quality: deeply researched, expertly resuscitated and lavishly packaged box sets, playlists and ephemera of historic music from the 1950s-1990s. Founded in Chicago in 2003 by Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley, for more than 15 years Numero has committed to unearthing precious lost sounds for new audiences, with an unparalleled ear for potential and spirited eye for detail. With hundreds of titles in their diverse catalog of LPs, CDs, cassettes, 45s, 12-inch singles and playlists, each Numero production illuminates the often herculean efforts of individuals who sang, played, recorded and peddled their art to little fanfare in its day. Through intense research and wild ideas, these songs find new life in streaming, lovingly-packaged media and placement in film and television. By self-imposed law, everything assembled by Numero is a stunning new artifact of sound, image and word.

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