Sunday, October 11, 2009

Unsung Soul Man Leroy Hutson

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Not sure if you're down with windy city singer, songwriter, arranger and producer Leroy Hutson, but he is one of my favorite unsung soul men. A native of Newark, New Jersey, brother Hutson went to Howard University with Donny Hathaway (whom he collaborated with on the classic track "The Ghetto") and Roberta Flack. In 1971, he was hired by Curtis Mayfield to replace him in the Impressions. However, at the time, not everyone was pleased.

"I remember being pissed when the line-up changed," late journalist and friend Tom Terrell once told me. "I had bought tickets to see the Impressions perform at the Howard Theater and when Hutson came on stage instead of Mayfield, I like...'Who the hell is this?' Yet, like other R&B fans, Terrell was soon swayed by Hutson's passionate voice. Two years later, Hutson also went solo.

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Somehow I went my entire childhood having never heard of Hutson, but a chance encounter with the greatest hits package Lucky Fellow, The Best of Leroy Hutson (Charly Records) was the turning point. Though I bought the a disc simply because it was associated with Mayfield's funk house Curtom Records, whose roster included Baby Huey & the Babysitters and Linda Clifford, it was Hutson's cool sound that blew me away. Not many cats can sound laid-back and aggressive at the same time, but Hutson's voice and music was icy hot.

Recently, while working on a story about Curtis Mayfield, I was talking to guitarist extraordinaire Craig McMullen (dude played ax with Hutson, Chairman of the Board, The Sylvers, Bill Withers and Mayfield) who informed me that he'd soon be going out on the road with the unsung singer. Hopefully, they'll be at a venue near us.

All Because of You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4hui4_7DlU

Lucky Fellow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc0u7WWwxuk

So in Love With You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaPLjHtl1Po
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2 Comments:

Blogger Sidik Fofana said...

this is cool...i gotta check his music out

9:41 PM  
Blogger Marcus Reeves said...

Mike,

Two things. First off, I gots to read the CM story after you teased it (cue porn wah wah) so dramatically. Naw, but I really can't wait, so keep me email posted.

Secondly, no you did not put up a poster of "Come Back Charleston Blue!" I have been searching for that flick forever. And I haven't seen it since it was in theaters. If you know where I can get it, let a mulatto no...lol.

8:34 PM  

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