& 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 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.
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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
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
What Do You Think?
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