Caroline/Soul Music Records have just issued a splendid twofer on connoisseurs’ soul favourite WILLIE HUTCH. The two LPs that makeup the new reissue are 1976’s ‘Concert In Blues’ and ‘Color Her Sunshine’ from the same year. Both were originally released on the main Motown imprint.

Hutch originally came came to Motown as a writer (having scored hits previously for The Fifth Dimension, The Friends Of Distinction and Al Wilson) and he soon found himself working with Smokey Robinson on the great man’s first solo albums. In 1973 he made his Motown recording debut with his ‘The Mack’ soundtrack which was followed by ‘Fully Exposed’, ‘The Mark Of The Beast and ‘Ode to MY Lady’. That latter album spawned Willie’s biggest single hit, ‘Love Power’.

‘Concert In Blues’ followed ‘Ode To My Lady’ and Hutch conceived it as a tribute to the blues –the music his father had played in and around Texas when he was a child. In reality though there’s little here that’s classic blues. In fact the set’s a mash of oldies like ‘Stormy Weather’ and ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’ alongside Hutch originals of which the best is the ballad ‘Baby, Come Home’. The LP peaked at #22 on the R&B chart.

‘Color Her Sunshine’ fared even worse… managing just a #54 R&B placing. However the 9 tracker has travelled down time in better shape than its predecessor. The set is a romantic affair and in places seems to draw inspiration form contemporary Marvin Gaye/Leon Ware recordings. Try ‘Come On Girl, Let’s Get it On’ to hear what I mean.

In 1977 Willie left Motown for Whitfield but returned in 1982 but by the 90s he was back living in his home state, Texas and working sporadically. He died in 2005 but remains a soul connoisseurs’ favourite… they’ll be delighted with this reissue.