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Monday, September 6, 2010

AudioBlog#10: Willie Hutch: Inventive, Imaginative, Ingenious

Willie Hutch was a genius -- no doubt about it. Songs like Brother’s Gonna Work It Out,
Sunshine Lady  or I Choose You prove that. 
In my opinion, however, a genius has to offer more than just a few -- or even many -- first rate compositions and/or songs. A genius has to deliver above the average work all the time or at least most of the time. Willie Hutch definitely did that. 
I took the time to listen into 13 of his 17 albums -- and there was not a single track I didn’t like. (I listened to at least two randomly chosen tracks per album.) 
This artist took pride in his work and gave his best all the time.

Willie Hutch recorded his first album, Soul Portrait in 1969 with RCA
and Sexalicious, his last one, for the Midwest label in 2002. He recorded 
17 albums altogether.
(I am looking for his first single, Love Has Put Me Down, which was released in 1964 on Soul City Records but couldn’t find it anywhere.)
During his tenure with Motown from 1970 - 1977, he was one of the lucky artists who were actually allowed to be creative. I mean: Motown has been known for its rather formulaic releases, guaranteeing success rather than variety. 
While at Motown,he co-wrote, for example,  I’ll Be There for The Jackson 5 and produced Smokey Robinson’s first solo album. 
In 1977 he left the hit factory, Motown, and joined Norman Whitfield’s label, released two albums:  In Tune in 1978 and Midnight Dancer in 1980. In 1982 he returned to Motown, left again in the late 80’s. He kept performing and recording, however, until way in the 90's.
Willie Hutch died in 2005. May his soul rest in peace. 


Soultaker said...

Great AudioBlog Raggedy. You included one of my favorite Willie Hutch songs, "I just wanted to make her happy". Willie was very underappreciated.

Raggedy said...

Yes, he never got his props, in my opinion. To me, it means a lot to consider a post early 80's album listenable. I was just listening to his Sexalicious album, and what can I say? The man even made something out of synthesizers ...