LUTHER INGRAM: Let’s Steal Away To The Hideaway, Do You Love Somebody (Label: Kent)

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LUTHER INGRAM: Let's Steal Away To The Hideaway, Do You Love Somebody

This two-for-one is Kent’s final instalment in their reissuing of Luther Ingram’s Ko Ko catalogue with ’74’s ‘Let’s Steal Away To The Hideaway’ and ’76’s ‘Do You Love Somebody’ representing his last two LPs for Johnny Baylor’s famous little label. The dates are significant. Disco was just building to tsunami proportions – about to sweep everything before it with its inrush of zipping cymbals and glitter balls but it’s as if Ingram hadn’t heard – or maybe more specifically Ingram AND Baylor hadn’t heard. The singer had been Ko Ko’s main bread winner and the shrewd label boss wasn’t about to try his man on some new fangled sounds. So – like most of Ingram’s previous work – the music here was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound using their classic rhythm section; the background singers were Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul while the famed Johnny Allen was contracted for the arrangements… classic ingredients, then, for quality southern soul and that’s exactly what you get. Highlights abound but Baylor was no fool and he choose the two very best cuts for the albums’ titles ensuring instant recognition. ‘Let’s Steal Away To The Hideaway’ is a superb tale of cheating in the next room (well, here specifically ‘The Hideaway’) and it ranks with any of the classics of the genre, while ‘Do You Love Somebody’ is a beautiful mid-tempo swayer that will appeal right across the soul spectrum. More importantly it proves that when they put their minds to it, the Southern boys could do sophisticated just as good as any of the Fancy Dan big city soulsters. ‘Do You Think There’s A Chance’ offers more of the same southern sweetness … no wonder its original single pressing is much sought after… but, in honesty, real soul fans dipping in here won’t, in any way, be disappointed… but then I don’t need to tell real soul fans that do I? Luther Ingram died in March 2007 and though he recorded for a number of other labels (notably Profile and High Stacks) he never managed to recreate the soul artistry of his Ko Ko days… the 21 tracks here represent some of the best of that.
(BB) 4/5