Friday, September 23, 2005

Willie Hutch 10 Motown Memories

Some of Willie Hutch's best music is on the albums he recorded for Motown. Here are some of my favourites:

1.Brother’s Gonna Work It Out

Willie’s 1973 anthem was my introduction to his music via the movie The Mack where it is featured on the sound track. The Mack is of one of the great blaxploitation movies of the 70’s, which conjures up memories for me of all night film sessions in Brighton when I was a student.

2. Can’t Get Ready For Losing You

Written with his brother Richard from the 1973 Fully Exposed album – a conga driven beat from King Errisson with Willie’s choppy guitar playing same chords throughout make this a hypnotic track.

3. Theme Of Foxy Brown

More blaxploitation memories and more of Pam Grier!!! Here is Willie producing and arranging a wonderful theme song which opens the movie – love the break at end where he slows it right down as he extols Foxy brown not to let him down and Willie’s singing touches on the subtlety’s of Marvin’s voice.

4. I’m Gonna Stay

Willie starts with a spoken into to why he is going to stay before the song builds up into another gem from the man. Fine singing over a bank of strings and Willie’s chugging guitar. There are plenty of other gems on this 74 album Mark Of The Beast - check them out!

5. (I’m Gonna) Hold On

Taken from the 1975 Ode To My Lady album. This is another hypnotic conga driven side, which Willie specialised in this time from Eddie Bongo Brown with some lovely guitar flourishes from perhaps Dennis Coffey or Willie or David T Walker. Again the magic of Willie’s arranging comes through the whole side as it breaks down in the middle to build up into a crescendo towards the end only halted by a scream from Willie as it fades to the end.

6. Love Me Back

Another cut from the Ode To My lady album. The opening is straight out of Marvin Gaye – very dramatic before breaking into Willie’s groove with some gorgeous understated guitar playing in the background. The song meanders over a string backdrop with Willie letting rip more than usual. Love the way the guitar becomes more insistent as the beat keeps nagging before you get a break of horns and Willie take it to the top. As Willie wrote on the sleeve notes:

“So may the music of my guitar be the voice of your heart; telling you how I feel about you when I say this is an “Ode To My Lady”

7. I Like Everything About You

Taken from the Color Her Sunshine album – another full production that is one of the reasons I love his music – a great song and more wonderful singing from Willie supported by the Waters and Gwen Owens etc. Love the way he samples his own Brother’s Gonna Work It Out.

8. Shake It, Shake It

I include this because this one of the best “disco” records ever like only Willie could do and has such memories again for me from ’76. This is up there with Down To Love Town, Love Hangover etc from Motown.

9. Baby Come On Home

One of Willie’s best slow numbers from the 1976 Concert In Blues album.

10. Come On Let’s Do The Thing

The 45 from the Concert In Blues album where Willie comes on like Bobby Womack but he is his own man – a wonderful groover with lots of bongos, guitar and the interchanging of vocals, which sound like Willie treble tracking??? One of my real faves of his because it is such a warm sound which reminds me so much of 1976!


  1. Yes, I do remember those good old days when Willie would call me to let me know that there would be a recording session and where it would be...I really liked working on Concerts In Blues, because it was the first session that I had the pleasure to over-dub all the guitar parts...Gemi T.

  2. Anonymous7:11 PM

    Willie was a generous friend. We came back into each others lives after the divorce from his wife of 27 years. He was a very private man. He had a beautiful home in Duncanville on 3 acres of land with a creek running through the back yard. Willie suffered from diabetes,hypertension and congestive heart failure. But he lived his life very comfortable on royalties and artist samples which allowed him to travel, play golf, and enjoy his siblings and children. His brother, Richard Hutchison died less than a year after him from complications of diabetes. May his gifted and generous spirit rest in peace....until we meet again.

  3. Anonymous10:33 PM

    In another section of this newsletter you speak on Tim McNealy and his recording of I'm So Glad You're Mine. You speak of the background vocals. Those vocals are me (Darlene Locke and Frances Marnes), ladies in Dallas who did a lot of vocals for local talent in the early 70's.