Monday, April 16, 2012

Ann Peebles, Where Have I Been All Your Life?

I have great confidence in my assumption that nobody doesn't like Al Green.  The Reverend may not be at the very top of everyone's soul singer list. Some may reserve that cherished position for Otis Redding or "The Queen" Aretha. But I've yet to meet anyone who has shot a Bronx cheer in the direction of Albert Greene from Forest City, Arkansas. What's not to like?

That being said, I had a little Al Green fest this weekend and marvelled at the sound of the records. Thanks to the legendary Willie Mitchell and The Hi Rhythm Section, these records have "a sound." Like The Funk Brothers of Detroit or  Booker T. & The M.G.s over at Stax/Volt,  Mitchell, the Hodges Brothers and either Howard Grimes or the M.G.'s Al Jackson Jr. on drums, created something that is distinctive and wholly their own. If we had the superpower of hearing things from a mile away, we'd be able to tell from that distance we were hearing a Willie Mitchell/Hi Rhythm Section record.

At this point, you'd think this was a post about Al Green. But it's not. Not really. It's about the discovery of a song that had been sitting in my collection for years, but only found its way to my head and heart this weekend, as I looked for more of the Willie Mitchell sound. Thanks to Al Green (and Willie) and I listened to an hour or so of Ann Peebles, a soul queen in her own right.

While I've known of Peebles for years, it was through bands like Humble Pie, the Black Crowes and the Allman Brothers that I became familiar with her songs like "99 lbs.," "Somebody's On Your Case," "Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home," and "Slipped, Tripped & Fell In Love." Her biggest, "I Can't Stand The Rain," was really the only song I attributed to Miss Peebles herself.

Needless to say at this point, Ann Peebles is essential. She's possesses the silk and soul of Al Green, but occasionally lets herself become unguarded, which adds a slight edge to her sound.  I'd like to believe it's that edge that caught the ears of the aformentioned rockers, along with, of course, everything else.

I'm sticking with the silk and soul for a moment. This song, off of 1973's "I Can't Stand The Rain" is, as the Reverend once sang, simply beautiful. "Until You Came Into My Life" is classic Willie Mitchell. It's classic Hodges Brothers. It's the great Ann Peebles. And it is currently never coming off my turntable.


delraich said...

If you like the Willie Mitchell sound be sure to check out O.V. Wright.

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Del. I own the Japanese O.V. boxed set. Spectacular.

buzzbabyjesus said...


steve simels said...

"I Can't Stand the Rain" was one of John Lennon's favorite records, BTW.

FD13NYC said...

My fave is I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down. That captures the Rev "grits" Green sound. Covered nicely by Graham Parker.

The wife and I are going to Memphis at the end of June. Maybe we'll catch one of his gospel sermons. Should be fun.

Chris Collins said...

yeah, this is killer

A walk in the woods said...

As we like to say here in the South, "Oh HELLS yes!"

Reminds me of the flipside song, in terms of subject matter -- the great, great "after" song by Mavis:

I Have Learned To Live Without You

A walk in the woods said...

p.s. FD13NYC -

I went to one of Rev Al's gospel sermons in 2001 or so, and it remains one of my life's great memories. Very, very special.

(so was, by the way, seeing Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School in Plains Georgia in 2005. I think he still does it most Sundays. It's free, you just walk right in after getting frisked by Secret Service. Amazing.)

Duncanmusic said...

I recall getting the 'I Can't Stand The Rain' LP after I spent a brief stretch in jail in the early 70s. Everyday they would play the Deep Soul station over the PA system between 6 AM and 11 AM and I cam e to love MANY of the era's soul artists because of that two and a half month's exposure. Ann Peebles was one of them and that early 70s Muscle Shoals/Memphis sound just blew me away and still does. O'V' Wright, Willie Mitchell, Syl Johnson, RTeverend Al, on Hi RTecords ( and so many other more obscure ones on HI I sought promo copies of whenever I could find them) plus ANYTHING from FAME Studios...well, you get the picture. For those who know, no edxplanantion is necessary; for those who don't : WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Get Digging!

Anonymous said...

One of my many favourites of Ann Peebles is "I Still Love You" - but I have yet to find a reissue where one or both channels don't start to go in and out half way through the song! As far as I know I've tried 'em all - would anyone have a decent version (maybe a 45 or a Japanese pressing that doesn't have this glitch) they might consider posting? Thanks, Marie

Sal Nunziato said...


This sounds pretty okay to me.

Anonymous said...

@ Sal:

Thanks so much for doing this for me. Unfortunately, whatever sloppy remastered version they've opted for has been used here too.

The problem starts at :51 when her voice briefly cuts out.

The more noticeable problems occur at these points:

2:24 (right channel cuts out)

Thanks again for your efforts, Sal - I really appreciated it.


Sal Nunziato said...


Listening back, I truly only hear a glitch at 2:18. But, I did not sport the headphones. Ergo; don't wear headphones.


Either way, I'd be curious if you do find a clean master.

Anonymous said...

Sal: If I ever do find a decent master or the original 45, I'll send you the track. Marie

Jonnie said...

This is one of my fovourite records. The groove goes on forever thanks to Howard Grimes & the band and the lovely uncluttered production of Willie Mitchell. The band I was in around the time this LP came out was based in Northern Ireland, during the troubles, we included "Feed The Fire" in our set and it usually got people up on their feet.