Luther Ingram is always going to be most famous for his huge 1972 hit "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right," and many listeners familiar with at least some of his work aren't aware that he'd been regularly releasing records since the mid-'60s. Pity for the Lonely has both sides of nine singles from 1966-1971, so it almost acts as a pre-"(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" best-of of sorts. None of these tracks, of course, made nearly as big an impact as that 1972 monster, and some of them were flops. But they do include more than a half-dozen low-to-high charting R&B hits of the late '60s and early '70s, among them "My Honey and Me," "Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)," "To the Other Man," and "Be Good to Me Baby." Fans of the more mainstream-inclined Memphis soul sound will enjoy this material, though Ingram was something of a middle-of-the-pack soulster who wasn't nearly as distinctive as, say, Johnnie Taylor or Sam & Dave, though some of these tracks bear mild similarities to those artists. On early cuts like "Since You Don't Want Me" and "Oh Baby, You Can Depend on Me," Sam Cooke stands out as a big influence as well. Some of the more obscure cuts have a somewhat grittier, bluesier, and funkier feel than what Ingram's best known for, though the one that might be most widely known, "My Honey and Me," has an appealing almost swamp pop feel. "Ain't That Lovin' You (For More Reasons Than One)" and "To the Other Man" prove he had a commanding touch with a ballad as well. An Ingram best-of with a wider chronological range is still the preferred investment as an introduction, but more serious fans will appreciate the thoroughness of this sweep through his early Ko Ko releases. Also included is a brief (40-second) radio promo ad for an Arkansas record store with an Ingram voice-over.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger