Roy Hamilton

Warm Soul

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This 2007 U.K. reissue of Roy Hamilton's 1963 album Warm Soul actually serves as a retrospective of his entire (brief) stay with the MGM label, adding 14 bonus tracks taken from 1963-1964 singles he did for the company (along with one previously unreleased outtake). The Warm Soul LP itself is actually the least interesting portion of this disc, putting Hamilton in heavily orchestrated arrangements that seem to indicate he and MGM were aiming for the pop crooner market, rather than the R&B and rock one that had given him his greatest success. There's actually a stronger connection to R&B than it might appear, since several of these songs (like "It's Too Soon to Know," "Crying in the Chapel," and "For Your Precious Love") were R&B hits for various artists in the '40s and '50s. But although Hamilton's voice was still in excellent shape and he handled the material competently, these aren't the best versions of these songs, and it isn't an approach that suits his gospel-pop-R&B strengths. The non-LP singles for MGM were more along the lines of what people expected from Hamilton. Yet despite songwriting and production contributions from heavyweights like Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Van McCoy, Mack David, and Bert Berns, it didn't result in a hit, or any of the singer's more memorable work. Whether or not these guys were saving their heavy ammunition for different artists, the songs simply weren't great, and Berns' contributions in particular were formulaic copies of tunes he'd had greater success with like "Twist and Shout." These are nonetheless by no means bad pop-R&B-soul amalgams, and the relatively obscure Leiber & Stoller composition "Midnight Town -- Daybreak City" is of particular interest, with a very Drifters-like Latin-tinged arrangement and lyrics that hint at a failed interracial romance. The revival of his 1955 hit "Unchained Melody" is surprisingly good, but in all, this is more of a gap-filler in the collection of Hamilton fans than a representation of some of the singer's better work.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:12
2 2:09
5 2:20
6 3:01
7 2:36
8 2:31
9 2:13
10 2:27
13 2:15
14 2:13
15 2:09
16 2:03
17 2:08
18 2:05
20 3:08
21 2:46
22 2:25
23 3:03
25 2:24
26 3:17
27 2:24
blue highlight denotes track pick