Jimmy Lewis – 1974 – Totally Involved
A fantastic album of southern soul, and one that’s often overlooked in discussions of the genre during the 70’s. Despite the fact that it’s on the Hotlanta label which cut a fair bit of club-oriented work the record’s a great batch of mid and slow tempo tracks with an excellent rootsy soul style, fantastic lyrics, and great vocals by Jimmy. The songwriting is excellent, with the kind of sophisticated yet rootsy sound that you’d get from 70s geniuses like Sam Dees or Sidney Joe Qualls.
Super funky soul lp by Jimmy Lewis titled totally together. This record features ill vocals and killer hip hop breaks and samples. This is the kind of music to put a smile on anyones face. Tune after tune of sweet vocal soul jams. Take a listen to the sound clip as this record is a real nugget.
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Hotlanda Records Lp including covers.
A1 It Ain’t What’s on the Woman 5:11
A2 There Ain’t No Man That Can’t Be Caught 3:15
A3 Is That Any Way to Treat a Lady 4:03
A4 How Long Is a Heartache Supposed to Last 4:45
B1 Thank You 4:03
B2 Go on Live Your Life 3:39
B3 That Won’t Stop Me From Loving You 4:30
B4 Help Me Understand You 4:02
Jimmy Lewis released his first solo LP in 1974, but make no mistake. By that time, Lewis could rightfully be deemed a Veteran of Soul… A prolific songwriter, the Georgia-bred artist had worked for or with a host of people, including Ray Charles, Little Richard and Bobby Womack.
In a sense, this man ‘behind the scenes’ also delivered one of the very last all-out, full-length Southern Soul albums. Recorded for Hotlanta in 1974, ‘Totally Involved’ is a veritable collage of sounds echoing a decade of Sweet Southern Soul music.
Lewis, renowned for his gritty, no-nonsense adlibs and spoken introes, preaches hard on the virtues of ‘plain jane’ women on the album opening “It Ain’t What’s on The Woman“. His at times hilarious, raspy-voiced monologue perfectly complements the belting, wailing, testifyin’ vocal. Set to a lazy, bluesy beat and accentuated by a purring organ and sweet female backing vocals, this is 100% pure and uncut Southern Soul old-school style.
And that’s just the beginning. Lewis continues his philosophical musings on the mid-tempo, cruisin’ “There Ain’t No Man (That Can’t Be Caught)“, with its infectious xylophone, blaring horns and Jimmy’s incredible rappin’! Lewis often overdubbed his own voice for a second vocal, adding punchy, on-the-mark adlibs.
One of his best known tracks is up next, the steady rollin’ “Is That Any Way to Treat a Lady?“, a hard socking jam with jaunty guitars, incisive bass, deliciously arranged strings and a frantic Sam Cooke-ish vocal finale (‘This song reminds me of Sam!’)
Deep, deep Soul follows with the slow grinding, devastatingly hard blues of “How Long Is a Heartache Supposed to Last?” Jimmy’s cracklin’, gruffy, lowdown pipes are terrific here, belting and testifying over a gospelish piano, again adding an effective second vocal (“Monk and Basie… used to be my thing… but since that woman left me… all I play is B.B. King!”, putting in one of those classic B.B.-howls for good measure).
In contrast, “Thank You” is the most ‘sophisticated’ tune. It has a slight Philly Soul groove, but Jimmy’s smokey vocal and the fatback drums make it unabashedly Southern in the end.
The jousty, zesty R&B drive of “Go on Live Your Life” revisits the same issue addressed in the opening track, another sermon delivered with dyed in the red Georgia soil grit and passion.
“That Won’t Stop Me From Loving You” is the darkest tune; minor-keyed and haunting on the bridge (sounds classical there, even) and carried by a percolating, hypnotizing groove.
Jimmy ends his masterpiece with another divine piece of old-school gutbucket Southern Soul: “Help Me Understand You” flows gently along, while Lewis’ raspy, but roaring voice (“Baby how do ya think we’re ever gonna git our thang TOGETHARRRR”) is raw beyond raw, with some superbly subdued strings and country church backing vocals sweetening things up just the tiniest bit.
Overpowering… Southern Soul at its finest!