Ace’s well-established Songwriter Series doesn’t wander into the realms of soul as often as some might wish, but we aim to remedy that in future with more salutes to great black American writers of the past 40 years, particularly those whose work excites collectors simply on the strength of their name under a title. We weigh in this month with an unquestionably strong collection of classics written or co-written by soul hero “Prince” Phillip Mitchell.
The songs here mostly chose themselves, through their popularity with record buyers or the acclaim afforded them by collectors and dancers on the Northern and Modern-Crossover scenes. ‘I Don’t Do This’, ‘Come Through Me’, Corey Blake, our title track – I would have been excommunicated from every soul forum and dancehall in the world if I hadn’t included these. And why wouldn’t I anyway, they’re all fine tunes.
As with other CDs in the series, one shouldn’t always expect the obvious version of any song. Instead of hearing Phillip himself sing ‘Free For All’, for example, you will hear Mel & Tim. And instead of hearing Mel & Tim sing ‘Starting All Over Again’, you will hear Johnnie Taylor. John Edwards’ sensational ‘Cold Hearted Woman’ is here so that we can include Phillip singing ‘Little Things’. Katie Love’s original of ‘It Hurts So Good’ takes precedence over Millie Jackson’s version because, well, it’s the original. And we can then feature Millie’s underrated ‘Leftovers’. Nothing wrong with any of this – there are no losers in this game.
I shouldn’t need to be hard-selling any part of this CD. Check out that track listing – it speaks for itself. It’s very rare that you will hear so many great songs, one after another, sung by so many great voices. The only real problem you might have with this collection is deciding which track you like best.
By Tony Rounce