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Soul Express Classic Soul CD of the Month - April 2009

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Been Here All the Time & If Loving You Is Wrong I Donít Want To Be Right
UK Kent CD, 2009
1) Ain't That Lovin' You (For More Reasons Than One) 2) Your Were Made For Me 3) Oh Baby You Can Depend On Me 4) My Honey And Me 5) I'll Just Call You Honey 6) Since You Don't Want Me 7) Missing You 8) I'll Love You Until The End 9) Be Good To Me Baby 10) Pity For The Lonely 11) To The Other Man 12) Ghetto Train 13) If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want To Be Right 14) I'll Be Your Shelter (In Time Of Storm) 15) Always 16) Dying And Crying 17) Help Me Love 18) I'm Trying To Sing A Message To You 19) I Remember 20) Love Ain't Gonna Run Me Away 21) I Can't Stop

† Earlier Kent had released two valuable and complete compilations of Lutherís KoKo singles and now they put together his four KoKo albums for two CDs († Iíve Been Here All the Time & If Loving You Is Wrong I Donít Want To Be Right (CDKEND 315; 21 tracks, 77 min., liners by Tony Rounce) pairs Lutherís first two albums, and especially the latter one I rate as one of the best albums in the history of soul music.

† The first album had many highlights, too.† It kicks off with Ainít That Loving You (for More Reasons than One).† Luther: ďIt was recorded by Johnnie Taylor, and then I recorded it, because they had messed up the bass line in the track.† Johnny Baylor brought it to me and asked me could I do anything with it.† So I heard it, I liked the lyrics to it, recorded the song and it turned into a hitĒ (# 6-soul / # 45-pop).

Sam Cooke recorded originally You Were Made for Me for Keen Records in 1958, but Lutherís version is a half-heavy, rolling mid-pacer.† Luther: ďI chose it, because it was such an intimate song.Ē† It was one of Lutherís favourites out of his own recordings, alongside If Loving You Is Wrong and To the Other Man.

Be Good to Me Baby, a heavy and hypnotic mid-pacer, was produced by Johnny Baylor and Willie Hall.† Luther: ďWillie was a good drummer.† The way Willie was hired was that the original drummer had a little too much to drink and fell off the stage, so Willie Hall got up and took his place, and he just kept on playing.Ē

† Other gems on the album include the mid-tempo Oh Baby, You Can Depend on Me, a slowly swaying ballad called Since You Donít Want Me and the haunting Missing You.† Isaac Hayes wanted to cut Iíll Love You until the End first, but he was persuaded to give Luther the first shot.† Pity for the Lonely is a Drifters type of a melodic and poppy ditty, which Little Dooley had cut originally (KoKo 102), whereas To the Other Man is a melodramatic, slow song.

(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Donít Want to Be Right is an all-time soul classic and Lutherís signature song (# 1-soul, # 3-pop).† Luther: ďI was in the room with Isaac and David Porter and I heard this demo, and it was about a woman.† I decided to change it and put it on a man, and they liked it.† I had my family Ė my sister and brothers Ė do the musical arrangements.† Then I went to Muscle Shoals, they gave me the perfect arrangement and I recorded it.† It took less than half an hour.Ē† Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson and Carl Hampton wrote the song, Homer did the demo and the Emotions cut it first, but they thought it was too risquť for their image.† Veda Brown tried it next, but the result was not satisfactory.† Interestingly, both Don Davis and Isaac Hayes turned the song down.† Randy Stewart: ďLuther really produced the song on himself in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but because of Johnny Baylor owning the company his name went down there as a producer.† But Luther and Pete Carr, the guitar player in Muscle Shoals, did all the work.Ē

† The hit is followed by two superb singles, an enchanting mid-tempo song called Iíll be Your Shelter (in Time of Storm) and a melancholy and beautiful ballad named Always.Tommy Tate had cut both the pleading Dying and Crying and the mid-tempo Help Me Love first.† Iím Trying to Sing a Message to You is another great ballad from the trio of Banks-Hampton-Jackson.† Luther: ďAl Bell and Homer Banks put the track down originally, but we changed the lyrics around a little.Ē† The driving I Remember was again cut by Tommy Tate first, and finally a slowie called Love Ainít Gonna Run Me Away was picked up for the last single release off the album.† The rest two albums (Letís Steal Away to the Hideaway and Do You Love somebody) are still in the pipeline.

- Heikki Suosalo

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