Al Hibbler

Best of Al Hibbler [Varese]

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This popular vocalist, long a fixture with the Duke Ellington band, had a long and distinguished run on the pop charts in the dark days of 1950s pre-rock & roll. Much was made of his blindness (Hibbler knocked down many a door for vision-impaired performers, paving the way for Ray Charles in particular), but the real glory was his voice, an instrument that could soar with the best of them. His two million-selling singles, "Unchained Melody" and "He" (later fodder for the Righteous Brothers), are both aboard, along with "After the Lights Go Down Low," "11th Hour Melody," "Honeysuckle Rose," "All or Nothing at All," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "The Very Thought of You." For all his popularity and long-range influence on everyone from Ray Charles to Albert King, it seems almost inconceivable that a best-of package would have taken this long to come together, but fans of righteously sung pop music can rejoice that it has finally come to pass.

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