Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook.

Label: Ace Records.

When Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler saw Eddie Hinton playing in Muscle Shoals he called him “the  next big thing.” By then, Eddie Hinton was a talented songwriter who regularly collaborated with Marlin Greene, Donnie Fritts and Dan Penn, and played guitar on nearly every session held at Quinvy and Muscle Shoals Sound studios between 1967 and 1972. However, Eddie Hinton wasn’t content to be a session musician and songwriter all is career.

Eddie Hinton wanted to embark upon a solo career, but his career was hampered after a drugs charge in the early seventies saw him forced to leave his home Muscle Shoals. Despite that, Eddie Hinton wasn’t about to give up on his dream. 

In 1977, Eddie Hinton had signed to Capricorn Record and released his debut album Very Extremely Dangerous. Many record industry insiders and critics believed that Very Extremely Dangerous would launch the Muscle Shoals based soul man’s career.

It would’ve done if Capricorn Records hadn’t entered bankruptcy a few weeks later. This was a disaster for Eddie Hinton.

By then, Eddie Hinton’s life had already started to spiral out of control and soon, he was battling with mental illness plus drugs and alcohol addiction. The man dubbed: “the next big” by Jerry Wexler was in danger of becoming the forgotten man of soul.

In 1986, Eddie Hinton released his long-awaited  sophomore album Letters From Mississippi. Then five years later, he followed this up with Cry and Moan in 1991. Sadly, though, his fourth album Very Blue Highway was the last album Eddie Hinton released during his lifetime.

Tragedy struck on the ’28th’ of July 1995 when Eddie Hinton died after suffering a heart attack. the fifty-one year old soul man was at home in  Birmingham, Alabama with his mother Deanie Perkins and stepfather Paul Perkins. It was the end of era.

Looking back, the story of Eddie Hinton is one of a truly talented singer who never fulfilled his potential. However, during the first decade of his career Eddie Hinton the songwriter enjoyed a rich vein of form and more than fulfilled his potential. Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook which is the lasts instalment in Ace Records’ songwriter series features twenty-four songs he penned  between 1967 and 1977. Some of these songs were written with Marlin Greene, Donnie Fritts and Dan Penn and were recorded by everyone from Dusty Springfield, Bobby Womack, Candi Staton, The Sweet Inspirations, Mink Deville, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Gwen McCrae and Bonnie Bramlett. Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook is a reminder of a truly talented songwriter.

Opening Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook is his best known song Breakfast in Bed which was recorded by Dusty Springfield for her classic album Dusty In Memphis which was released by Atlantic in 1969. This oft-covered song has since become synonymous with Eddie Hinton. However, it’s just one chapter in the story.

Jackie Moore recorded Cover Me, which lends its name to this compilation, for Atlantic in 1971. It was perfect suited for the twenty-five year old soul singer from Jacksonville, Florida. 

So was A Little Bit Salty which soul survivor Bobby Womack recorded for his 1976 album Home Is Where The Heart Is. It was released on Columbia, but passed many record buyers by as disco was by then flavour of the month. That was a great shame given the quality of songs like A Little Bit Salty.

In 1972, Candy Staton was signed to Fame and working with Rick Hall who produced her single In The Ghetto. Tucked away on the flip side was Sure As Sin which is a hidden gem from one of the greatest female soul singers of her generation.

Although many people remember The Sweet Inspirations for adding backing vocals on songs by the great and good of music, they released a number of albums. This included Sweets For My Sweets in 1969 which featured Always David. It’s one of the highlights of the album and a reminder of a talented and soulful trio.

It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright was recorded by Eddie Hinton in 1967, but wasn’t released until 2000 when it featured on the album Dear Y’all. It’s a poignant reminder of one of Eddie Hinton who had the talent and potential but never made the breakthrough and for too long, remained one of soul music’s best kept secrets. 

Cher covered Save The Children and her heartfelt version featured on her 1968 Atco album Jackson Highway. 

Six years later, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin covered Every Natural Thing on her 1974 album for Atlantic Let Me Into Your Life. This uptempo song features a vocal masterclass from Aretha Franklin who was at the peak of her powers.

Judy White released a cover of the Eddie Hinton and Marlin Greene composition Satisfaction Guaranteed as a single on Buddah in 1969. It’s an underrated single and welcome addition to Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook.

Percy Sledge recorded Standing On The Mountain for the B-Side of 1972 single for Atlantic Rainbow Road.  It’s another Eddie Hinton and Marlin Greene composition that Percy Sledge breathes life and meaning into.

It’s a similar case with Lou Johnson People In Love which featured on his debut album Sweet Southern Soul. It was released on Atlantic Records’ imprint Cotillion in 1968 an showcases the talents of the soul singer from Brooklyn, New York.

Closing Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook is fittingly Lulu’s cover of Where’s Eddie. This Eddie Hinton and Donnie Fritts composition was tucked away on the B-Side of her 1970 single. It’s wistful sounding song with a lovely horn chart that compliments Lulu’s vocal and ensures Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook closes on a high.

Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook is a welcome addition to Ace Records’ celebrated Songwriter Series. This lovingly curated compilation is a reminder of the first ten years of Eddie Hinton’s career, which was the most fruitful period of his career.  During that period, the great and good of music covered Eddie Hinton’s songs. 

Despite being a talented singer and songwriter Eddie Hinton never reached the heights he should’ve. He bravely battled mental health problems and was addicted to drink and drugs. Still he continued to write and record, but the first ten years of singer Eddie Hinton’s career was the most fruitful. 

Sadly, Eddie Hinton never made the commercial breakthrough many record industry insiders and critics believe, and his career was cut tragically short when he passed away just aged fifty-one after suffering a heart attack. Soul music was in mourning after the death of a a talented singer and songwriter who left behind a rich musical legacy including the songs on Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook.

Cover Me-The Eddie Hinton Songbook.

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