JIMMY HOLIDAY; Spread Your Love (Kent)


Jimmy Holiday is one of real soul’s great unsung heroes. Born in Durant, Mississippi in 1934, his early music career saw him working with a succession of small labels before he eventually (in 1967) pitched up at Liberty/Minit. On the revitalised Minit imprint he enjoyed moderate success with tunes like ‘Baby I Love You’, ‘Everybody Needs Help’ and ‘Spread Your Love’. Poor health and dwindling sales brought an end to Jimmy’s career as a performer though he went on to enjoy bigger success as a writer. The pop standard ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’ is one of Jimmy’s tunes; he co-authored it with Jackie DeShannon and Randy Myers. By the early 80s he faded from the business and he died of heart failure in 1987. Critics generally agree that the best of his musical legacy is the catalogue of tunes he recorded for Minit in the late 60s and this new Kent retrospective pulls together every single he recorded for the label.

The hits are here of course and ‘Baby I Love You’ remains a classic. Other highlights include ‘The Turning Point’ (the title cut of Jimmy’s sole Minit album), the tough ‘Give Me Your Love’ and the quite lovely ‘The Beauty Of A Girl In Love’… string-driven and genuinely poetic, it inexplicably failed to chart.

You also get a pair of duets that Jimmy recorded with label mate Clydie King and soul buffs will already be familiar with the couple’s ‘We Got A God Thing Going’ and the uplifting ‘Ready Willing And Able’. Jimmy’s gritty, aching voice is a perfect foil for the sweet tones of the ex-Raelet and indeed throughout the album you will be amazed that such a “real”, soul voice like Jimmy Holiday’s didn’t enjoy more commercial success.

(BB) 4/