Jerry Butler – 1971 – Sings Assorted Sounds – With The Aid Of Assorted Friends & Relatives
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One of the albums in which Jerry Butler showcases the talents of a new generation of young Chicago soul talents – including Terry Callier, Donny Hathaway, Chuck Jackson (from The Independents, not the New York soul star), and his brother Billy Butler.
Billy Butler had already scored big with his own singles on Okeh in the 60s, but Terry, Donny, and Chuck were still emerging soul talents at this time – and it was pretty darn nice of Jerry to give them exposure on a record like this. Proof that The Iceman always was much more than just the simple singer of pop hits that he always gets tagged for – as it was pretty magnanimous of him to share the wealth of his big contract with Mercury, not to mention pretty smart to infuse his career with some good young songwriting talent.
The whole record’s got a good groovy soul sound, and includes the cuts “How Did We Lose It“, “If It’s Real What I Feel“, “What Is It“, and “Do You Finally Need a Friend“.
A1 How Did We Lose It 3:03
A2 How Does It Feel 3:45
A3 Special Memory 3:08
A4 Built My World Around You 2:38
A5 Going Back To My Baby’s Love 2:25
B1 If It’s Real What I Feel 2:38
B2 Strong Enough To Take It 2:08
B3 What Is It 3:00
B4 Why Are You Leaving Me 3:30
B5 Do You Finally Need A Friend 3:20
I believe that this album is a lost Chicago Soul classic, and perhaps the last great classic Soul Lp to come out of Chicago. How’s that for a lead-in? But it’s true.
Although none of the tracks here crossed over to Top 40 radio, every one is a stone cold killer. The combination of Butler’s fluid baritone with production by his brother Billy and longtime Chi-Town stalwart Gerald Sims combines to do magical things. 1971 was late in the Soul era, but Jerry sings like it’s still 1968, his “Ice Man” persona still in full effect.
“How Did We Lose It” is the lead off, and it should have been a hit everywhere. Two songs by the criminally overlooked Chuck Jackson close Side 1, and they’re enough to bring you to tears. Side 2 doesn’t let up, leading off with another Chuck Jackson side, “If It’s Real What I Feel“, and closing with the Terry Callier-cowritten “Do You Finally Need A Friend“, which is a classic bit of Chicago Soul if ever there was one.
All in all, a five-star record, and one you can pick up cheap because no one knows about it (sshhhh… don’t tell your friends).
More Jerry Butler albums on FMS here