This rather simple but brilliant Stateside CD brings together the late great Bobby Womack's first two LPs both issued on Minit Records in the USA. It also boasts major label sound quality (EMI) and a less than budget price. In my book - it's a total winner. Here are the midnight movers and all-night groovers...
UK released August 2004 on EMI Stateside 866 0782 (Barcode 724386605924) it breaks down as follows (63:39 minutes):
1. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
2. Baby! You Oughta Think It Over
3. I'm A Midnight Mover
4. What Is This
5. Somebody Special
6. Take Me
7. Moonlight In Vermont
8. Love, The Timer Is Now
9. I'm In Love
10. California Dreamin'
11. No Money In My Pocket
12. Lillie Mae
Tracks 1 to 12 are "Fly Me To The Moon" released January 1969 in the USA on Minit Records LP-24014
13. How I Miss You Baby
14. More Than I Can Stand
15. It's Gonna Rain
16. Everyone's Gone To The Moon
17. I Can't Take It Like A Man
18. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
19. Arkansas State Prison
20. I'm Gonna Forget About You
21. Don't Look Back
22. Tried And Convicted
23. Thank You
Tracks 13 to 23 are "My Prescription" released May 1970 in the USA on Minit LP-24027
The 12-page booklet has sleeve notes by DEAN RUDLAND with two photos and snappy trade advert for the "Fly Me To The Moon" LP. STEVE ROOKE did the remasters at Abbey Road and lovely Stereo Sound fills every track. There is hiss on some of the tracks but there's a wonderful warmth and air around the recordings - kind of goes with the territory.
Wilson Pickett had a 7" smash with Womack's "I'm A Midnight Mover" in 1968 (called the album "The Midnight Mover" too) but now it was the turn of Cleveland's finest and `The Preacher' does a barnstormer of a great tune. In fact the first album is full of those unbelievably catchy hooks - the mid-tempo "Somebody Special" and the distant harmonica melody in "Take Me" (also used as the B-side to "Fly Me To The Moon" when it was released as a US 7" on Minit 32048). Wilson Picket plundered Womack's knack for a ballad with punch too when he recorded "I'm In Love" and released it in early 1968 (also calling the album after the track).
But for me things really take off on "My Prescription" which opens with one of my all-time favourite Soul tunes - "How I Miss You Baby". Minit coupled it with the album cut "Tried And Convicted" (on Minit 32093). It has a snappy beat, churchy organs, impassioned vocals, touching lyrics and eventually goes into a sort of Burt Bacharach brass bit as he sings - it's unbelievably good. The same hooky melody of sorts infests "It's Gonna Rain" where he sings of "bad vibrations" - again brilliantly arranged and the remaster bring out a fabulous rhythm section of bass, drums and rhythm guitars. His "Preacher" side comes out in "Everyone's Gone To The Moon" and "I Can't Take It Like A Man" - the latter with lovely brass fills adding so much. And on it goes to the Tony Joe White slink of "Arkansas State Prison" and the bouncy keyboard of "Don't Look Back" (A Temptations cover) and the equally upbeat "Tried And Convicted".
Womack would go on to huge success and acclaim with his Seventies material on United Artists and onwards again to "The Poet" and beyond. But I've always loved his duo of fabulous Minit LP starters and hope you will too...
Stateside 866 0782 is the kind of CD that gets unwisely ignored and sells for peanuts. But I urge you (if you'll forgive the primate pun) to shell out on this one...