Jimmy Holiday had the skills to be a star -- he had a honeyed voice with just the right amount of grit, he could write insinuating songs, both slow and fast -- but it never happened for him. He had a hit right out of the gate with "How Can I Forget," an indie hit on Everest in 1963, but once he signed with the New Orleans-based Minit in 1966, he managed no better than 21 on the R&B charts, even though he could sing several kinds of soul with style. Spread Your Love: The Complete Minit Singles 1966-1970 makes that plain by cycling through his As and Bs from the late '60s, offering a rich portrait of an unheralded talent. Usually, Holiday sidestepped the signature funky sounds identified with the Crescent City -- "Give Me Your Love" is an exception -- favoring a sweeter, smoother sound that sometimes recalls the cool breezes coming out of Chicago thanks to the Impressions. Holiday adeptly updated his sound with a bit of James Brown and Memphis groove -- the latter can be heard on "Spread Your Love," the former on "Baby Boy's in Love" -- and also easily slid into country-soul on a slow-and-dirty version of Lefty Frizzell's "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" and felt at home grafting some of Motown's ornate arrangements onto the Otis-driven groove of "I've Got to Live While I Can," plus he was a good duet partner with Clydie King. Holiday seemed comfortable with nearly every contemporary soul style of the '60s and he wrote strong songs, too; maybe nothing here is a classic along the lines of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," the hit he co-wrote with Jackie DeShannon, but every sturdy tune sticks around the brain. So, Spread Your Love: The Complete Minit Singles winds up as a requiem for a soul singer who never got his due and still deserves more credit than he gets: this is fine stuff.
Spread Your Love: The Complete Minit Singles 1966-1970
Spread Your Love: The Complete Minit Singles 1966-1970 Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine