Willie Hutch – Try it, You’ll Like It – CDEXCL5


April 25th, 2011


Price: £12.50

Track listing:

1. Brothers Gonna Work It Out
2. I Can Sho’ Give You Love
3. I Like Everything About You
4. Love Me Back
5. Easy Does It
6. I’m Gonna Give You Respect
7. Try It, You’ll Like It
8. I Wanna Be Where You Are
9. Ain’t That Mellow Mellow
10. In And Out
11. After Love Is Gone
12. California My Way
13. Talk To Me
14. Lucky To Be Loved By You
15. Let’s Try It Over
16. Train Of Love
17. Give Me Some of That Good Old Love
18. Don’t You Let Nobody Tell You How To Do Your Thing


When in the position of compiling ‘best of’ albums on individual artists, most
record labels opt to focus solely on proven hits. Expansion has never taken this
route because it is our belief that chart status doesn’t automatically equate
to artistic quality, and that a judging of music alone is the far better path
towards a compilation of substance.

The problem with Willie Hutch is that he has simply made so much great music over
such a long period of time that to use our own philosophy on this project has
been made that much more difficult.

Still, there is no question that Hutch’s most prolific days were at Motown
in the mid to late 70s, and so it is here we root this selection and then combine
it with some other music that we simply had to have.

Born William McKinley Hutchinson in Los Angeles, 1946, Willie sang with a few
local groups before embarking in the mid-60s on a career as singer, songwriter
and eventually producer too.

He worked at small labels like Soul City and Venture, had success as a writer
for The Fifth Dimension and got a manager in J.W. Alexander who had previously
worked with Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers. From this period, his best remembered
works are ‘The Duck’ and ‘Love Runs Out’, actually an A and B side respectively
on ABC Dunhill still highly regarded today on the ‘northern soul’ scene. (Watch
out for a video of ‘Love Runs Out’ featured on a new Willie Hutch DVD in the

In 1969 he recorded ‘Soul Portrait’, the first of two albums for RCA with ‘Season
Of Love’ to follow in 1970. While John Flores is credited as producer, Willie
later revealed that much was his own work. This compilation features a song
from each of these albums which are at the so called ‘crossover’ end of northern
soul and represent the embryo of what was to come at Motown.

Willie may well have been an established Motown artist in the 60s had he grew
up in Detroit, and the mind can only boggle at what he may have had the opportunity
to record with perhaps The Supremes or The Temptations. When Motown moved to
Los Angeles in the early 70s Willie received a phone call from producer Hal
Davies who urgently needed a song written to a backing track he had entitled
‘I’ll Be There’. By 8am the following morning The Jackson 5 were in the studio
recording it, and soon he was working on ‘Got To Be There’ and ‘Never Can Say
Goodbye’ as vocal arranger. He also produced the first solo Smokey Robinson
without The Miracles.

In 1973 Motown group Sisters Love were given a cameo role in the film ‘The Mack’,
and the group’s manager suggested Willie Hutch compose the soundtrack. The result
was ‘The Mack’ which essentially became Willie’s debut Motown album. It included
the dramatic intro’d ‘Brother’s Gonna Work It Out’ which marked the start of
his Motown period and appropriately opens this collection. In recent times DJ
Norman Jay has opened his sets while working around the world to large arenas
holding the floor over the entire build up of the record. In 1982 it was issued
on a US Motown 12′ as a ‘b’ side to ‘In And Out’ which in itself remains a club
anthem and the soundtrack to the Caister Ten soul weekender (complete with DJ
Chris Hill’s body dance).

Then same year he released his first solo studio album for Motown ‘Fully Exposed’
which included his composition ‘California My Way’ (later a hit for The Main
Ingredient). Also on the album was his take on Leon Ware’s ‘I Wanna Be Where
You Are’ recorded by Marvin Gaye who of course was on Motown at the same time
with other male soul giants including Stevie Wonder. While not to receive the
commercial success of his label mates, Willie still maintained his position
at the heart of America’s black music scene throughout his time at the label.
In fact this album boasts a Willie Hutch song ‘I’m Gonna Give You Respect’ recorded
both by Marvin Gaye and G.C. Cameron separately that’s PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED!
Yes, an exclusive to this album, and performed with Willie’s original lyric
‘I Give Her Respect’.

Willie returned in 1974 with another soundtrack, this time ‘Foxy Brown’ before
a series of beautifully crafted soul albums for Motown from which most of this
album is comprised. It’s this music that represents our favourite period in
time in black music where artists had far less restrictions on recording budgets
so could lavishly orchestrate their music atop rhythms by the finest musicians
in town. With Willie’s songs, seriously soulful vocals and productions these
were blissful times indeed.

In 1978 Willie left Motown for a couple of albums at Whitfield (Norman Whitfield’s
label), the first of which ‘In Tune’ delivered a true soulboy’s favourite ‘Easy
Does It’ at the peak of UK ‘Jazz Funk & Soul’ scene, just prior to the weekender
scene in this country which ultimately nurtured this song into a true anthem.
Naturally it was essential for this collection.

In 1982 Willie wrote ‘Keep The Fire Burning’ for Gwen McCrae and returned to
Motown for a couple more solo albums. He also worked with The Four Tops on ‘Sexy
Ways’ and their duet with Aretha Franklin ‘What Have We Got To Lose’, wrote
and produced ‘Hello Detroit’ for Sammy Davis Jr and closed his account with
Motown on one last soundtrack project ‘The Last Dragon’ in 1985.

More recently he has recorded for his own GGIT label where he has recorded
a couple of CD albums ‘From The Heart’ (1994), ‘The Mack Is Back’ (1997) and
‘Sexalicious’ (2002). In 2003 Willie made a trip to the UK to appear live at
the Fleetwood ‘Togetherness’ soul weekdender to perform songs from an incredible
near four decade career.

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