sábado, 12 de diciembre de 2009
VA: Troubles, Heartaches & Sadness - Hi Records' Deep Soul Sisters (1966-76)
Whenever the classic sound of Memphis is discussed, the holy trinity of Stax, Goldwax and Hi dominate the proceedings. Although the Hi label was a relative latecomer in the soul stakes, it soon equalled, and often surpassed its rivals in both commercial and artistics terms. The company's roster was home to an array of talent, some already established, others fresh-faced and ready to roll, from whose ranks this collection of distaff delights has been assembled. Janet & the Jays' Memphis residence was brief, but the group's legacy, which includes Don Bryant's 'Without a Reason' and 'Love What You're Doing to Me', stands proudly among the finest Hi product of all time. Ann Peebles made her R&B chart debut in 1969 with her very first single, the start of a decade of chartbusters and, finally, the breakthrough into the soul market that had since eluded Hi. Four of Peebles' classic cuts are featured here, including 'Give Me Some Credit', 'Troubles, Heartaches & Sadness' and 'Run Run Run'. Memphis' best secret, Toni Green, was the lead vocalist of Imported Moods, a harmony outfit whose 'What Have You Done to My Heart' was released on the label in 1970. Five years before ex-fashion model Veniece joined Hi, released two singles pdq and promptly disappeared from the recording scene for six years. She returned from that hiatus with the driving downhome saga 'Stepchild', prompting a trip to Europe supporting Wilson Pickett. A revival of Otis Clay's 'Trying to Live My Life Without You' in 1975 proved to be her farewell disc. Signed to Hi Records, Quiet Elegance were produced by Willie Mitchell and Dan Greer, who acting independently, whip up a batch of hot, tough Southern sounds as magnificent as their debut single, 'I'm Afraid of Losing You'. Blue-eyed soul trio Joint Venture worked for several years as in-house back-up singers for Al Green before releasing one of the greatest 45s to find on the label, 'What Have You Done to My Heart', in 1970. One of their members, Donna Rhodes, recorded solo 'Where's Your Love Been' three years later. Erma Coffee's 1973 Hi single coupled her version of 'Any Way the Wind Blows' and 'You Made Me What I Am', both included here. She later recorded as Irma Coffee for Tamtown. Chicagoan soul diva Jean Plum arrived at Hi Records in 1975, where she debuted with the remarkable “soft-deep” double-header 'Look at the Boy' and 'Back to You'. Talking to the British publication Blues & Soul the following year, the singer expressed her excitement at the completion of sessions for her first album. The inclusion of treasures like 'Loneliness' and her supremely soulful interpretations of Aretha Franklin’s 'Today I Sing the Blues' would surely have ensured a top quality se but, sadly, the LP was never released. The 1976 single 'I Love Him' was Plum’s only other release until her final platter two years later. Meanwhile Hi girl group Known Facts delivered their impressive two-sider 'He's Got It' and 'How Can I Believe You', in 1975; same year that the Duncan Sisters issued 'It's You That I Need', their only outing on Hi. The fact that Ann Peebles alone amongst this talented asemblage hit the big time, detracts not one jot from the greats sounds laid down by her equally deserving labelmates, whom posterity has, at last, granted a wider and more appreciative audience than they attracted back in the day. Partially Taken from the original liner notes.