Keep the Music Alive: Philadelphia’s TCS Records on the Rise

Rachel IshikawaBlog, Home Row 1, Listen

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Gwen Carter’s North Philadelphia home is impeccable. The whole house is color coordinated and on an average day the dining room is set with plates, cutlery, and cloth napkins as if awaiting a dinner party at any moment. There’s only one relic of Gwen’s gospel singing past: a framed record in the living room. And that makes sense because Gwen sold most of her gospel music keepsakes earlier this year.

Gwen Carter and her husband Tony Carter were the forces behind TCS Records, one of the first Black owned gospel record labels in Philadelphia active in the 1970s and 80s. Aside from Gwen who got plenty of radio play, TCS largely landed flat. Despite Tony Carter’s desperate attempts to uplift the label, no one seemed interested. But that may be changing. Max Ochester, owner of the record store Brewerytown Beats, recently purchased TCS Records. He’s revamping the entire label. Now nearly 40 years later, TCS is getting a second chance.

Hear about the story behind TCS and listen to artists like Gwen Carter, Tony Carter, Linda Kemp, and Renne Brooks in the audio below. You can hear more TCS artists here and purchase songs on iTunes.





All photos courtesy of TCS Records.

This audio piece was produced by Rachel Ishikawa for WXPN’S GOSPEL ROOTS OF ROCK AND SOUL. GOSPEL ROOTS OF ROCK AND SOUL has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.