The first-ever CD compilation of singles from the uncompromising Mighty Hannibal features his groundbreaking antiwar hit, "Hymn No. 5," as well as minor hits like "Jerkin' the Dog" and "I Need a Woman (Cause I'm a Man)." More revealing, perhaps, is the inclusion of several early-'70s tracks that inexplicably could not find a label to release them at the time. However, the sweet and tender declaration of love "We're Gonna Make It" and the good-time party tune "Meet Me at Mary's Place" do not prepare one for the saga of "I'm Coming Home." It is now five years after "Hymn No. 5," and the soldier's younger brother is shipping out, leaving a much more chaotic America behind: Drugs and riots are destroying his home city. He has hope, though, that he will return to a better country than he left. The song is as resonant and remarkable as the similarly themed material Marvin Gaye would release the following year. The fact that this song never saw commercial release is more than a little bit telling of the indifferent music industry Hannibal was forced to contend with. Perhaps if he had the support of a label with the prestige and promotional muscle of Motown, the story would be different. Hannibal's music is classic indie soul at its best.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by John Duffy