Ann Peebles – 1972 – Straight From The Heart
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One of the greatest soul records of the 70’s by a woman.
A diminutive singer with a powerful voice and an even stronger attitude, Ann Peebles was one of the artists who defined Willie Mitchell’s legendary Memphis soul label Hi Records, along with Al Green and, later, O.V. Wright. Easily the best female singer in the Hi stable, Peebles ranked among the finest deep Southern soul singers of the decade.
Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love
Trouble, Heartaches & Sadness
What You Laid On Me
How Strong Is A Woman
Somebody’s On Your Case
I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home Tonight
I’ve Been There Before
I Pity The Fool
I Take What I Want
A lean, tough set that was not only a triumph for Peebles, but illustrated how the Hi label had surpassed its crosstown Stax rival for quality Memphis soul in the early ’70s. The guitars are spare, funky, and bluesy, the horn section punchy, and the material far earthier and down-home than the increasingly formulaic grooves at Stax. There were three modest R&B hits on the album (“Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love,” “I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home,” “Somebody’s on Your Case”), much of which was penned by Peebles or her husband Don Bryant. Peebles’ vocals were convincingly biting, and she never, unlike many other singers of the era, tried too hard for her own good.
I was blessed with a copy of this. The album features the same Hodges Bros./Hi-Rhythm Section that was behind Al Green, various other Hi-Records recording artists, and even recently the indie act, Cat Power. Ann Peebles voice, while complemeted immensely by the Hodges Bros. tight and thick 70’s funk/soul soundings, offers up an album as strong as any Al Green album released around the same period. Definitely a missing “must have” among the many exhaustive lists of “must haves,” “Straight From the Heart” reveals the power of an awesome rhythm section when pushed and challenged by an accomplished singer. While this album is relatively short by today’s album standards, it satisfies none the less.