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Cover Me - The Eddie Hinton Songbook

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 9/ 10

(Ace, CDTOP 1535; 24 tracks, 74 min.; track listing:

  The songwriter/guitarist/singer Eddie Hinton (1944-1995) lived an eventful life full of ups and downs, and in Tony Rounce’s notes to this CD you can read more not only about Eddie’s trials and tribulations but also about his wonderful music and career.  Depending on Eddie’s writing partners at different times, Tony divides his track-by-track annotations into three parts: Eddie with 1) Milton Greene, with 2) Donnie Fritts and 3) others.  While listening to the CD, I also divided my notes into three parts: 1) soul, 2) deeper, churchy soul and 3) pop.  Most of these songs derive from the late 1960s or early 1970s, but there are two that were recorded still in the 1980s.

  Starting from my third category, I was surprised at the number of pop artists, who have recorded Eddie’s songs.  There are some self-evident names like Tony Joe White on a swamp number called 300 Pounds of Hongry, a fast rocker named Where You Come From by Bonnie Bramlett and the mid-tempo If I Had Let You In by the Box Tops, but I had forgotten that also Cher and Lulu had picked up Eddie’s material.  Cher’s touching ballad is titled Save the Children (in 1969), while Lulu closes the set with a dreamy but fully-orchestrated downtempo number called Where’s Eddie (in 1970).

  In the soul category there are such artists and slow songs as Dusty Springfield’s sensual Breakfast in Bed (1969), Jackie Moore’s pleading Cover Me (1971), Eddie’s own raspy demo of It’s All Wrong but It’s Alright (1967) and Al Johnson’s big ballad Love Waits for No Man (1967).  Oscar Toney Jr., Don Varner, Aretha Franklin and Percy Sledge are this time in charge of more uptempo material.

  In the most inspiring category of deep soul the first track is Bobby Womack’s A Little Bit Salty.  I still remember how in the late 1970s I invited an American soul singer to my home for an interview.  When I played this track as an example of a big soul favourite of mine, he started laughing.  He was amused by Bobby’s vocal mannerism.  I lost my faith in soul artists for a minute.

  Other exciting tracks include Sure as Sin by Candi Staton, Always David by the Sweet Inspirations, Satisfaction Guaranteed by Judy White, Lay It on Me by Gwen McCrae and People in Love by Lou Johnson – all great songs from Eddie and powerful performances. 

Heikki Suosalo

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