Jean Knight

Mr. Big Stuff

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Jean Knight could do no wrong in 1971, when the strutting "Mr. Big Stuff" was climbing the pop and R&B charts, well on its way to becoming one of the most familiar chart hits of all time. Her debut album, with its no-brainer title, featured a lot of good material on it, not all of it in the same vein as her hit. Producer/arranger Wardell Quezergue (he also appeared on keyboards) handled the record well, with a band consisting of Malaco hands like guitarist Jerry Puckett and drummer James Stroud. Knight shows an admirable range on these songs, stretching out on the heartbroken ballads "A Little Bit of Something (Is Better Than All of Nothing)" and "Why I Keep Living These Memories" (each with a heavy church feel). "You City Slicker" was much too much of a "Mr. Big Stuff" sound-alike, but "Take Him (You Can Have My Man)" would've been a worthy follow-up to her only Top Ten hit. The CD reissue by Fantasy added a few of her later singles, including the charting "You Think You're Hot Stuff" and the fine "Carry On."

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