Thursday, September 20, 2012

Willie Hightower - Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Fame 1465)

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

As we were saying over on the other side, Joe South knew a thing or two about R&B, and I think this amazing 45 we have here is a shining example. If ever there was a 'message song' that should live forever, this one is it. I wish I could play it for Mitt Romney...

As South's original version was climbing the charts in late 1969, Fame had just 'inked a joint venture' which named Capitol Records as their distributor. Willie Hightower, who had come to Capitol along with his producer Bobby Robinson in 1965, was apparently released by the parent label at this point, and signed with Fame. As Rick Hall is quoted as saying in the essential The Fame Studios Story 1961-1973, "...I think I've cut a better record than the Joe South version." Well, I think so too. Hall is at the top of his game here, and I can't think of a better example of just how good a producer he was. Hightower, who remains one of my all-time favorites, is just belting it out, and the Fame Gang is on fire! Check out Clayton Ivey's soulful piano, Jesse Boyce's incredible bass line, and that stinging Junior Lowe guitar. Together with Hall's understated string arrangement and those high energy horns, this is just about as good as it gets.

"Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes..."

Words to live by, folks.


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