Not a single bad track...
MR DAMION ERIK CHEW | 08/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How I could grow up listening to Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Gladys Knight... countless artists on Atlantic and Stax... yet manage to completely miss this fabulous talent is beyond me. I suspect I'm not alone, but this excellent retrospective goes a long way to correcting this oversight.'Hi' have been very generous with this release. With 38 tracks spread over two discs, authoritative sleeve notes and a slip-case cover over the jewel case, this is an absolute bargain for the price - particularly since I was only looking for the album 'I Can't Stand The Rain' (included here in its entirety) and would gladly have paid the same price for that alone. This is a great addition to anyone's soul collection and, if you're like me, you'll feel you've just unearthed a priceless gem."
A flesh and blood woman
John Stodder | livin' just enough | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I write, the great Al Green is in the midst of a comeback, at least as far as his secular music career is concerning. He's working with his brilliant producer Willie Mitchell, and the sound bears a close connection with his great 70s groove. Well, if you want to pick up on that groove from the distaff side, you must consider getting into Ann Peebles. To most music listeners, there's a distant memory of a hit song called "Can't Stand the Rain," which had one of the most unique arrangements of its time, and was covered by many other singers, including Lowell George on his one solo album. That song is on the disk, along with the entireity of three albums Peebles released from 1969-73, all of them produced by Willie Mitchell, and sounding enough like Al Green to draw you in, but establishing their own specific hold on you. How is she different? At the risk of sounding sexist, it's the difference between men and women. While Al Green howls and pines, Ann fumes and dwells. The songs are slower burning, in many ways more despairing and rueful, even the upbeat songs like "Slipped, Tripped in Fell in Love" have an overwhelming sense of fatalism to them. One exception (and of course it's hard to generalize about a two disk set that gives you almost 40 songs, so there are many exceptions) is the great "Until You Came Into My Life," which is a full-blooded embodiment of a woman who has found love after a long struggle. I don't want to make Peebles sound harsh or depressing. She's just very real and vivid--and her music is great."
Irresistible First Stop
Laurence Upton | Wilts, UK | 01/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Complete Ann Peebles On Hi Records, Vol. 1 contains her first four albums, as well as the additional B-sides up to 1974, and contains much of her best work. To find them collected and complete on just two CDs at a reasonable price should make it an irresistible first stop for anyone wishing to add some of Ann Peebles work to their collection on CD.
Ann Peebles of course continues to this day to be an important artist, and Volume 2 and beyond are recommended subsequent purchases, but for sheer quantity of gems, such as I Can't Stand The Rain, Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home, I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down, I Pity The Fool, (You Keep Me) Hangin' On and A Love Vibration, all hit singles, this obviously is the place to start, and naturally you get to hear the albums as they were meant to be heard as well as two B-sides that did not appear on albums. Ann Peebles' third album, Part Time Love, named after her hit version of the Little Johnny Taylor track, is an exception to this at it was largely a repackaging of previously released material, and the duplicated tracks are not repeated, but the four new tracks complete disc one, following This Is Ann Peebles. This was her debut album and contains far less original material than her other albums. However I have no complaint at hearing Ann Peebles singing Bettye Swann, Fontella Bass, Aretha Franklin or the untypically funky Isley Brothers hit It's Your Thing.
Disc two is essentially Straight From The Heart, a title that sums up Ann Peebles vocal style, and her fourth album, I Can't Stand The Rain. Both contain a number of songs written by Ann and her partner Don Bryant, and some by Hi staff writer Earl Randle.
All the tracks were recorded at the Royal Recording Studios in Memphis, produced, engineered and arranged by Willie Mitchell, and hugely benefit from the combined forces of the Hi Records studio band, the Memphis Horns, the Memphis Strings and the backing vocals of Rhodes, Chalmers and Rhodes; the same team of course that created those great Al Green sides.
Mastering is very good considering the age of the masters and stereo album mixes have been used throughout, with the strange exception of I've Been There Before. This was also the B-side of Somebody's On Your Case, so possibly the mono single mix has been used in error, as the stereo mix has turned up on previous CD pressings that include the album Straight From The Heart. Both the non-album B-sides, Heartaches Heartaches and I Can't Let Go, are also mono, presumably because they were never mixed into stereo."