O.V. Wright – 1977 – Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose)
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A stone killer from OV Wright – a record that’s got all the raw, deeply soulful vocals we love in his early work – mixed with some wicked 70s Hi Records production from Willie Mitchell! Imagine an Al Green record, but with rawer vocals, and you’ve got a good idea of the feel of this one – a perfect setting for OV’s massive talent, and a great way for him to reach out to a wider audience too! The sound is impeccable – about as classic as you can get for Hi – and titles include a number of great Willie Mitchell originals.
A1 Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) 4:22
A2 I Feel Love Growin’ 3:47
A3 Precious Precious 3:30
A4 The Time We Have 3:00
A5 You Gotta Have Love 3:05
B1 Trying to Live My Life 2:39
B2 Medley 12:46
a. God Blessed Our Love
b. When a Man Loves a Woman
c. That’s How Strong My Love Is
Review by Kevvy
You could consider Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) a comeback album for O.V. Wright. After enjoying some moderate success in the late 60s and early 70s (moderate success indeed, but far too little considering the amazing deep soul he recorded over that period), O.V. spent a short term in jail on a drug charge. He returned to the studio in the late 70s as a member of the Hi Records roster (of Al Green and Ann Peebles fame).
With the highly talented Willie Mitchell in the producer’s chair, and supporting musicians that included The Memphis Horns (of Stax fame) and James Brown on piano, Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) was intended to be a real southern soul treasure from day one, and the final result delivers on that promise. O.V. and company completely ignore the disco and dance trends that r&b music of the day was leaning towards, and instead they charge forward with the elements that make southern soul so addictive: great story-telling lyrics, a world-class rhythm section, and a singer who cares about the message, believes in what they’re doing, isn’t afraid to hold anything back emotionally, and yet never over-sings a song.
The first song everyone’s gonna have to talk about is the epic medley that closes the album. It starts out with “God Bless Our Love“, which is done with such frailty, while O.V. puts his gospel training to good use. A chilling segue leads us to “When A Man Loves A Woman“. Percy Sledge’s original version is one of the most important songs in the history of southern soul, but it is also one of the most misinterpreted songs in the cannon of popular music. O.V. brings out the regret and pain of the song like so few vocalists could. It’ll give you goosebumps. Another segue moves us forward into “That’s How Strong My Love Is“, which is a song O.V. recorded (and, of course, had minimal success with) over a decade ago. Considering the hard road O.V. travelled to get to where he was in 1977, the song is given a whole new weight. This medley is one of the great moments of 1970s soul music, hands down.
The other eight songs are not too shabby themselves. The title track is one of the most refreshing and replayable songs in the O.V. catalog. The sly groove combined with O.V.’s gospel is the perfect way to kick start an album. The other highlight is “I Feel Love Growin“, which acts as more proof that Willie Mitchell can find that prefect sound for his artists to testify to; and while the remaining 6 tracks don’t quite live up to the aforementioned larger-than-life songs, they more than compliment an album that demands to be played again and again.
O.V. Wright never got the attention he duly deserved (put him near the top of a long line of underappreciated southern soul singers), and that makes Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) all the more rewarding to listen to. If you’re a music nut and serious collector like me, this is the kind of album we hunt for, absorb ourselves into, and sing the praises as loud as we can. Anyone who likes to be moved by the force of a candidly emotional song will be rewarded here.
More albums by O.V. Wright on FunkMySoul here