Hailing from Jacksonville in Florida, in 1970 Eddie Hinton was a 26-year old white guy possessed of one 'the' great unknown singing voices.
As an in-demand session man, his part Otis Redding, part Little Richard, part Bobby Womack rasp came with a whole lot of gutsy feeling too. When he sang rock music (especially if it had that soulful Alabama tinge) - like England's Frankie Miller, Terry Reid, Steve Gibbons and Eric Burdon - you sat up and took notice. But it wasn't until 1978 that Hinton finally got his own solo album released - the terribly named "Very Extremely Dangerous" on Capricorn Records - now a hugely sought after item on both vinyl and CD. His recording career after that was tangled with releases of new and old material - and that's where this superb little compilation comes in.
Raven RVCD-206 was released April 2006 in Australia and its 21-tracks break down as follows (74:37 minutes):
1. I Got The Feeling
2. You Got Me Singing
3. Concept World
4. Shout Bamalama [Otis Redding cover]
Tracks 1 to 4 from the 1978 album "Very Extremely Dangerous"
5. Just Like The Fool That I Was
6. Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom) [Staple Singers cover]
7. Got Down Last Saturday Night
Tracks 5 to 7 from the 1995 album "The Coleman-Hinton Project", unreleased recordings from 1970 - only discovered and released after his death (July 1995)
8. My Searching Is Over
9. Sad And Lonesome
10. I Want A Woman
Tracks 8 to 10 from the 1986 album "Letters From Mississippi"
11. Here I Am
12. Sad Song
13. Three Hundred Pounds Of Hongry
14. What Would I Do Without You
Tracks 11 to 14 from the 1997 compilation "Hard Luck Guy", unreleased recordings from the 1970's and 1980's
15. Hymn For Lonely Hearts
Track 15 from the 2000 CD "Dear Y'all - The Songwriting Sessions", recorded 1980
16. Something Heavy
Track 16 from the 2000 CD "Playin' Around", recorded 1977
17. Everybody Needs Love
Track 17 from the 1986 album "From Letters From Mississippi"
18. Cry And Moan
19. Bottom Of The Well
Tracks 19 and 20 from the 1991 album "Cry And Moan"
20. Rock Of My Soul
21. Very Blue Highway
Tracks 20 and 21 from the 1993 album "Very Blue Highway"
The whole set has been put together by KEITH GLASS (who also provides the 12-page liner notes with album sleeves, rare photos etc) and the remastering has been done by WARREN BARNET at the Raven Lab and is uniformly excellent.
I've reviewed the full album of "Very Extremely Dangerous" elsewhere, so see that. The 3-tracks of "The Coleman-Hinton Project" are fabulous - loose like the Stones on 1972's Exile. They're not audiophile recordings, but man's there's a cool kind of soul there. The cover of The Staples Singers "Heavy Makes You Happy" is radically slowed down and re-worked, but in a really lovely way. The strange orchestral string quartet that opens "Got Down Last Saturday" suddenly gives away to a Little Feat "Roll Um Easy" acoustic intro - and some raw vocals and harmonica (lyrics above). Very, very cool...
The production values go right up for the 3 tracks from the "Letters ..." set. "Sad And Lonesome" is a jaunty little tune that you'll find yourself playing again and again. It sounds not unlike what Springsteen did for Gary US Bonds on his "Dedication" and "On The Line" albums - Hinton's voice like Eighties Little Richard - gruff and soulful. The production values gets even more polished for the 4 tracks from "Hard Luck Guy" - yet another Otis Redding cover is revisited with the same joy as the original.
The downside - if you could call it that - was that although he wrote a lot of the material here and played large parts of the instrumentation himself - it was never killer enough to make an impact. Elvin Bishop had loads of albums out, but that one huge hit "Fooled Around (And Fell In Love)" brought him to 'everyone's' attention. Hinton never got that lucky - which is one of the crying shames of rock and soul history. But having said that - his personality and heart came through on every take.
This fantastic CD compilation has been a long-time coming and if you want to know why the "All-Music Guide" describes Eddie Hinton as "one of the great, unheralded white blues musicians of all time" - then here's the reasonably-priced place to start.
A lovely journey - great stuff - hugely recommended.