Leroy Hutson – 1974 – The Man!
The multitalented Leroy Hutson made his mark as an integral part of the Chicago soul scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s, thanks to his prodigious talents and connections to some of the city’s distinguished soul luminaries. While still a student at Howard University he roomed with Donny Hathaway, and he later had a hand in writing some of Hathaway’s earliest hits.
Hutson and Hathaway shared a similarly soaring, dramatic vocal style, and both liked to embellish their songs with baroque, string-bedecked arrangements. Though Hutson didn’t burn with the same intensity as the troubled Hathaway, his music is every bit as rewarding. His second album, The Man!, is among his best. It features some of Hutson’s most memorable compositions, including “Can’t Say Enough About Mom” and “Could This Be Love,“, which is anchored by a grooving fuzz-guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Curtis Mayfield or Norman Whitfield production from the same era.
A1 Can’t Say Enough About Mom 6:17
A2 Gotta Move – Gotta Groove 3:37
A3 Ella Weez 2:59
A4 Give This Love a Try 3:34
B1 The Ghetto ’74 4:32
B2 After the Fight 3:15
B3 Could This Be Love 3:06
B4 Dudley Do-Right 3:44
Review by RDTEN1
Leroy Hutson’s sophomore album doesn’t get the same rave reviews his debut “Love Oh Love” received. I liked the debut, but didn’t think it was a classic effort. Accordingly, I’m probably in the minority in thinking 1973’s “The Man!” was inconsistent, but on a song-for-song basis, was actually better than the debut.
Self-produced, the album was clearly intended to establish Hutson as a multi-dimensional artist. In case you missed it, the cover notes underscored that goal, describing him as “writer / producer / artist / superstar”.
With respect to the writer tag, Hutson co-wrote five of the eight tracks. Three of those songs stood among the album highlights – the uplifting ‘Can’t Say Enough About Mom‘, the instrumental ‘The Ghetto ’74‘, and The Impressions-styled ballad ‘Could This Be Love‘.
In the role of producer the only fault I could find with Hutson’s efforts stemmed from allowing some of Joe Long’s arrangements to overwhelm his work and the cowboy sound effects on ‘Dudley Do-Right‘ weren’t necessary.
Remember, Hutson was picked to replace Curtis Mayfield in The Impressions and there’s no denying he had a great voice that was capable of handling everything from smooth ballads ‘Could This Be Love‘ to funkier numbers ‘Ella Weez‘ and everything in between.
Superstar ??? Certainly a talented artist, but maybe a little short of the superstar designation at this point in his career.
Good album from start to finish and while it had at least five songs that I really enjoyed, there wasn’t a drop dead, killer track to push it to the next level. Add to that Curtom did little to support the album which ultimate hit # 36 o the R&B charts, but failed to enter the pop charts.
More Leroy Albums in our back pages here