Jerry Butler – 1968 – The Ice Man Cometh

Review by Soulmakossa

Rip, posting & additional info’s by Nikos

Amazing soul from one of the greats of the 60s! This album was one of the first that Jerry cut for Mercury – where he’d begun working with the young team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff to completely rework the earlier sound he’d forged at Vee Jay Records. The album’s still got Jerry singing in his wonderfully rich deep voice – hence the “iceman” in the title – but the songs have a bit more of a groove to them, with a soaring soul style that really lifts Jerry up, and pushes him onto a whole new generation of soul fans. The best proof of this are the hits “Hey Western Union Man” and “Never Give You Up” – but the whole album’s great, and like most of Jerry’s LPs, it’s got many wonderful tunes hiding underneath the hits.

Tracks
A1
Hey Western Union Man 2:37
A2
Can’t Forget About You, Baby  2:36
A3
Only the Strong Survive 2:35
A4
How Can I Get in Touch With You 2:26
A5
Just Because I Really Love You 2:37
A6
Lost 2:35
B1
Never Give You Up 2:56
B2
Are You Happy 2:40
B3
(Strange) I Still Love You 2:50
B4
Go Away – Find Yourself 2:52
B5
I Stop by Heaven 3:20

Although mostly recorded in Philadelphia, this album by soul troubadour Jerry Butler is in the Chicago Soul vein all the way; it’s too hard and gritty to be called ‘Philly’ – which wouldn’t surface as a genre until the early ’70s – despite the beautiful arrangements and sometimes huge orchestration.

Teaming up with future hitmakers Gamble and Huff, Butler cut his finest LP in 1968 with ‘The Iceman Cometh’. Veering between uptempo soul nuggets and truly magnificent, haunting ballads, many a contemporary R&B artist found inspiration in it and plenty of its tunes were covered well into the ’70s.

One of Butler’s best loved cuts, the bouncy, mid-tempo romper “Hey Western Union Man” became nothing short of a standard and the same can be said for the gently cruising gospelfide rockin’ soul beater “Only the Strong Survive“, one of the centrepieces on Elvis Presley’s comeback album ‘From Elvis In Memphis’.

Speaking of Memphis, the horn heavy “Can’t Forget About You, Baby” smacks of that big brassy Stax sound. A ferocious floorshaker, drenched in the sweet, purring vibe of the Hammond organ and embellished with the right amount of strings. Butler’s pleading, warm voice is at its best here, especially on the chorus. Decidedly more Windy City is the breezy, mellow “How Can I Get in Touch With You“, with its warm jazzy guitar, vibes and swirling violins.

And then there’s that deliciously groovy, laidback ballad “Just Because I Really Love You“, where the horns stretch out in suspense and the piano sounds dark and ominous. That same spooky atmosphere hangs around the brassy intro to “Lost“, a shufflin’, brooding piece sporting a crashing back beat, which works its way up to an anthemic, jubilant chorus.

Another soon-to-become evergreen appears in the guise of the slow burning “Never Give You Up“, a brilliant pop-soul confection covered by everyone from The Jacksons to Isaac Hayes. Equally snappy is the soft, despondent lament “Are You Happy”, with more subtle orchestration and another heart wrenching vocal.

Up next are two superb, dark, intensely sad ballads: the ghostly “(Strange) I Still Love You“, with its ethereal backing vocals, churchy organ and weeping strings, and the truly goosebump inducing “Go Away – Find Yourself“, an unbelievably touching, sweet rendering, majestically orchestrated.

Butler ends this magnificent longplayer on a more upbeat note, as he swoons, croons and wails his way through the country soul gem “I Stop By Heaven“.

A masterpiece.

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Comments

  1. Grumpy says:

    First track sounds great already, can’t wait for the rest.
    Thanks!

  2. first time here, just wanted to say thanks for the great blog and sharing some amazing stuff!

  3. rich says:

    great album thanx nikos

  4. SM says:

    oooooooh…..smooth.

  5. Brotherpete says:

    thank you very much dear folks!

  6. Frederic says:

    What a terrific album. A favorite LP of mine.

  7. Jake says:

    Everyone needs to give it a spin! Excellent!

  8. Any relation to Billy Butler? No? Either way, great album and thanks for the upload! You guys are the greatest!

  9. Nikos says:

    Billy Butler is Jerry Butler’s younger brother. He formed the vocal group The Enchanters while at high school. He first recorded for Okeh Records in 1963, and was produced initially by Curtis Mayfield and later by Carl Davis.

  10. Gene says:

    NOBODY sings this like Jerry Butler. Goosebumps from start to finish! Thanks for the post.

  11. Terry says:

    The Ice Man…Pure Soul.

  12. Alexandros says:

    So awesome and great quality sound here!
    Nice post,, very well done!!

  13. JERRY says:

    Thank very much again………
    Haven t been around a while, but your new shares are paradise FOR THE SOUL.
    YOU ARE A SOLDIER IN HARD TIMES
    KEEP IT UP

  14. Maria says:

    One of thae best. I grew up listening to this music.

  15. Butler was dubbed the “Iceman” by WDAS Philadelphia disc jockey, Georgie Woods, while performing in a Philadelphia theatre. The Ice Man Cometh garnered Butler three Grammy nominations.

  16. Sidney says:

    An important piece of Soul Music.

  17. Steve says:

    Pure and Beautiful ! Jerry has such a rich voice !! He’s one of my new favorites !! Thanks for Posting !!

  18. Name says:

    A bright shining spot, another gem on a record. Listen up!

  19. bowlisha1 says:

    It’s 1968 in Chicago Illinois. It’s the first day of my second year of high school. The juke box at the local hamburger joint is pumpin that new Jerry B song! “Hey Western Union Man..Send a Telemgram to my Baby”. Girl! I gotta get the cut! My friend says oh no don’t get the 45 you gotta babysit enough to get the album! I got it and I won’t even take it out the house cause somebody might steal it! She was right. She took it to a party with her a few weeks later and has not seen it since. Well, I begged and babysat till I got the money for this album and I still won’t take mine out the house. :-)
    Thanks for posting my favorite Jerry Butler album.

  20. B.G. says:

    Thank you for this great blog! It´s really, really good!

  21. I forgot this even existed, thank you.

  22. Alvarez says:

    A classic. I admire him since he was the original lead singer of the Impressions.

  23. Bel says:

    Superb soul. A must have.

  24. Rob says:

    Every time I hear this LP I melt he does such a fantastic amazing job on this.

  25. Doc says:

    Amazing site. Bless you.

  26. SP says:

    great upload and a great site…thank you

  27. 4KixAfter6 says:

    WOW! Thank you! Great site!

  28. thegroove says:

    Nice blend of grit and honey on this record. Super! Thanks Soulmakossa and Nikos.

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