Friday, December 26, 2008

Al Hibbler

Al Hibbler was a jazz singer whose style overlapped a bit into R & B. He sang for Duke Ellington and Jay McShann in the 40s, then put 7 hits on the top 100 between 1955 and 1957.

This is a double album called Al Hibbler’s Greatest Hits that I picked up at Centennial Library.

Al Hibbler:

· Unchained Melody – If you want the whole history, look it up on Wikipedia, but the summary is this: it was written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, it was used in the obscure movie Unchained, where it was sung by Todd Duncan, and it was a hit first by Les Baxter, followed in quick succession by Hibbler, Roy Hamilton, and a few others. Then of course it was revived by The Righteous Brothers 10 years later, and the rest is history. Actually the rest is several versions of history, but we’ll get to that later. Hibbler sings it well, and the arrangement is appropriately understated. His version reached # 3 in the spring of ’55. Let’s keep track of how many versions we have. This is one.
· After The Lights Go Down Low – Wilson Pickett did In The Midnight Hour, same idea. This was a top 10 hit in the fall of ’56.
· Breeze (Blow My Baby Back To Me)
· On A Slow Boat To China – An old standard; Jimmy Buffett did this.
· I Can’t Escape From You
· Pennies From Heaven
· Don’t Get Around Much Any More – A Duke Ellington song. Paul McCartney covered this years and years later.
· Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That, Baby
· It’s The Talk Of The Town – “Everybody knows you left me…”
· I Love You – Not a particularly original title. This isn’t the People song, nor the Stereos’.
· Trees – I think that I shall never see etc. From January, 1957.
· Stella By Starlight – The only Stella I ever knew was a woman who lived down the street from us when I was growing up, and she had a husband and an only daughter who was friends with my sister. And I never saw her by startlight. cf Ray Charles and The Ames Brothers. The Ames have the harmony thing going on, and Ray has the raggedness. Al here does it straightforward, which I suppose is legit…
· He – A song about God. The McGuire sisters also did this, and so did The Righteous Brothers about 10 years later. From December, 1955.
· There Is No Greater Love
· ‘Tis Autumn
· I’ve Got A Right To Sing The Blues
· Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
· You’ll Never Know
· Daydream – Not The Lovin’ Spoonful song
· 11th Hour Melody – From late winter, 1956.

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