Dear Y'all is a wonderful collection of 19 tracks -- yes, there is plenty of good music here folks -- recorded as songwriting demos. The songs are all delivered by a voice that someone once called "the epitome of unbounded emotion." Take a little Delbert McClinton, add in a little James Brown, and kick it up to 11 -- that was Eddie Hinton. On this album, we hear the original demos of songs he wrote for Percy Sledge ("Cover Me" and "It's All Wrong, But it's Alright"), Aretha Franklin ("Every Natural Thing"), and Bobby Womack ("Just a Little Bit Salty"). Of course, there is much more here than just the hits. The R&B gets down and dirty with "Build Your Own Fire," which opens the album, and there is an amazing rough take of "Every Natural Thing," a tune that would later be recorded by John Hammond and again by Aretha Franklin. There is a lone cover tune on the set, but it is a good one. A Hinton-ized acoustic rendition of Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man." One of the most downright original tunes comes in the form of the title track. It has to be heard to be believed. And then there is the stellar "Dangerous Highway," a song which was never recorded on an album, but sounds like the best Top Ten soul song you have ever heard. All of this from a man who actually turned down the opportunity to join The Allman Brothers Band back when they were forming; a man who acted as lead guitarist for the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section; a man who gave his all to his music, and it shows. This one is essential. Don't miss it.
AllMusic Review by Michael B. Smith