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Yesterday & Today: Willie Hightower 
By Gary Schwind

This collection of songs brings a breath of fresh air by taking a trip back in musical history.  Willie Hightower draws comparisons to Sam Cooke, and for good reason.  He has a very similar vocal quality to Sam Cooke but Willie Hightower stands pretty strong on his own.  If not for a fickle recording industry, Hightower would probably be mentioned in the same breath as soul legends Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green

This compilation kicks off with “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” a song with funky bass lines and strong horns.  There are heavy doses of bass, horns and piano throughout the album.  

As stated in the liner notes, Hightower’s songs were touched by the civil rights movement.  Hightower himself sometimes had to enter clubs by the back door, even if he was the headliner.  And you can definitely hear the impact of the social setting in Hightower’s music.  He sings about the poor (“Poor Man”) and downtrodden (“Back Road into Town,” “Time Has Brought About a Change”) and even sings a version of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.”  What Hightower does just about as well as anyone is to put a serious message with a song you can move to.

To be honest, there’s not much more I can say about this album.  It speaks for itself.  It sounds like a “Greatest Soul Songs” compilation.  Seriously, it’s that good.  Hightower delivers these songs with a soul that’s hard to find in the music business these days.  Which is a shame, because as Mojo Nixon said, “We gotta have more soul.”  If you agree with Mojo, you should go out and get this album that oozes with soul.  

CD Info 

Willie Hightower
Label: Astralwerks
  1. Walk A Mile In My Shoes 
  2. Back Road Into Town 
  3. If I A Hammer 
  4. Nobody But You 
  5. You Used Me 
  6. Time Has Brought About A Change 
  7. It's Too Late 
  8. (Take My Hand) Let's Walk Together 
  9. Poor Man 
  10. I Can't Love Without You 
  11. I Love You (Yes I Do) 
  12. It's Wonderful To Be In Love With You 
  13. Ooh Baby How I Love You 
  14. Somebody Have Mercy 
  15. Because I Love You 
  16. You Are Mine 
  17. It's A Miracle 
  18. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons: You Send Me / Medley 
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