John Holt

The Legends Collection

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John Holt is sort of a Jamaican Barry White, best-known for his smooth, easy listening love ballads, but Holt was also capable of stellar roots rocking, and was a fine songwriter when he chose to be. This two-disc budget collection features predominantly the MOR stuff, material that all-too-often fades on its own smoothness into elaborate background music. There are some exceptions to that here, though, particularly Holt's cover of "Looking Back," written by Brook Benton and Clyde Otis, and originally recorded in 1958 by Nat King Cole. Here the careful, hushed arrangement actually builds tension rather than dissipating it, a feat repeated on a couple of other tracks in this compilation, most notably on the graceful covers of The Tams' "Riding for a Fall," and Shep & the Limelites' "Stick by Me." Holt's version of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" is also included here. The song seems pointless and ill -advised, however, along with his take on Dennis Brown's "Wolves and Leopards," which adds very little to the original. Better and more balanced collections of this fine singer's work are available.

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