December 01, 2008

Mitty Collier - Shades Of A Genius (Chess LP 1965)

Although I love their cocktails, Milano is actually way to much fashion for me. Lots of posh shops that is, however, there's also Via Padova. A street with lots of people hanging around and police patrolling heavily. And it is here where I found Dischi Metropolis, an old basement filled with second hand vinyl, also equiped with very helpfull personell. Browsing through the bins I encountered Mitty Collier's 1965 album Shades of a Genius on Chess Records for 7 euros. Earlier this year I already noticed the Ace/Kent compilation Shades of Mitty Collier (focusing on her 15 singles for Chess), and was impressed with the powerfull soul-gospel voice of Mitty. Chicago’s Chess label hosted a whole bunch of great female soul voices, eg Etta James, Fontella Bass, Jackie Ross and Sugarpie de Santo. Somewhat more obscure is the here featured Mitty Collier, best known for her hit I Had a Talk With My Man Last Night, released in 1964 on Chess. Mitty was born in 1941 in Birmingham, Alabama, sung in church and toured with gospel groups The Hayes Ensemble and the Loyd Reese Singers. In order to earn some money for her college education, Mitty started singing r&b in the local clubs. In 1959, she won Al Benson’s Talent Contest and a year later, she got signed by Ralp Bass for Chess records at age 20. She stayed with Chess for eight years, releasing 15 singles and the here featured album, 1965’s Shades Of A Genius, a set comprising songs originated by or associated with Ray Charles (three songs are written by him). The album includes her first 1961 single Gotta Get Away From It All, arranged and produced, by Riley Hampton and Roquel “Billy” Davis and the 1964 classic I Had a Talk With My Man Last Night, a gospel song written by James Cleveland (and produced by Billy Davis), substituting the word “God” for “Man”. No Faith, No Love was another 1965 minor hit inspired by James Cleveland’s No Cross No Crown. Shades of a Genius provides us with excellent mid sixties soul, with a deep gospel undercurrent. Most tunes are slow, but things also get funky with Willie Dixon’s My Babe. As usual, the Chess production created tastefull brass sections and bluesy guitar licks. The woman on the album cover is not Mittie Collier, and although it was a withdrawn album cover, it managed to be pressed and released in Italia. Her highest charting single was released a year after the album, Sharing You, also covered by Dusty Springfield, Inez Foxx, Shirley Brown and Marva Wright. Her Chess swansong, released in 1968, was a new version of Gotta Get Away From It All, recorded at Fame Studios in Alabama with producer Rick Hall. Mitty left Chess after releasing Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes, a song recorded at Muscle Shoals. She then recorded five singles for William Bell's Peachtree label, in 1969, releasing True Love Never Comes Easy and You Hurt So Good. In 1972, Mitty departed secular music and began singing gospel music, releasing veral albums : The Warning, featuring I Had A Talk With God Last Night (1972), Hold The Light (1977) and I Am Love (1987). She is now the pastor of the More Like Christ Christian Fellowship Ministries, Chicago.

Listen To: I Had A Talk with My Man Last Night

Listen To: My Babe

1. Come Back Baby
2. I Had A Talk With My Man Last Night
3. Would You Have Listened
4. I Gotta Get Away From It All
5. My Babe
6. Halleluja (I Love Him So)

7. Drown In My Own Tears
8. No Faith, No Love
9. Together
10.Let Them Talk
11.Little Miss Loneliness
12.Ain't That Love

Mittie Collier with the Bar-keys on YouTube: (introduction by Otis Redding)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

can you tell me the name of tis mitty collier's song please ?