O.V. Wright

Into Something (Can't Shake Loose)

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O.V. Wright's secular career started off in 1964 with "That's How Strong My Love Is." It was written by Roosevelt Jamison initially responsible for discovering gospel group the Harmony Echoes, which brought forth both Wright and James "Dark End of the Street" Carr. Originally a B-side, it's included on this album as the closing third of a searing medley. And again, Wright's delivery proves to be in the same league as the more famous version by Otis Redding. Nothing much was gained though by Wright's association with the song. Redding's success awakened Backbeat owner Don Robey, who claimed Wright as his "property." Credits to all the artists' later recordings invariably mention a certain "D. Malone." Since it's the same Robey under a false name, it stands as a painful reminder of just how "protective" the label owner was. After a few short spells in jail for narcotic offenses during the mid-'70s, Wright re-emerged in 1977 with Into Something (Can't Shake Loose). It was his first album for Hi, although producer Willie Mitchell had overseen many of his Backbeat sides from the earlier days. For this comeback, the producer made sure Wright was supported by nothing but the best, from the Memphis Horns and Strings via the rhythm section of Grimes and all three Hodgeses to the background vocals of Rhodes-Chalmers-Rhodes. Even James Brown turned up for piano duties, but let's assume he's just a namesake. Obviously not as strong as the Hi albums Mitchell made with Al Green or Ann Peebles, it's still an example of genuine Southern soul. Highlights include "I Feel Love Growin'," the aforementioned medley, and the gospel-influenced title track with its chilling prologue. The medley would reappear integrally on O.V. Wright Live, with an extra addition of "You're Gonna Make Me Cry." Many compilations of his Hi output were released throughout the second half of the '90s. Both Hi Masters and That's How Strong My Love Is collect almost everything off this album and its follow-up, The Bottom Line. The Complete O.V. Wright on Hi Records, Vol. 1: In the Studio also includes the third and last of the Hi studio albums, We're Still Together.

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