Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Celebrating Eddie Hinton

While CD selecta Gord Cumming cued up Eddie Hinton's raucous Ting-A-Ling-Ling at Reposado last Tuesday night, it occurred to me that the this cozy Ossington tequila bar was probably the only joint in Toronto where the DJ would not only know that tune but be able to play the request on the spot. The other thing that hit me was that Gord, like everyone I've ever met who's equally enamoured with Hinton's rough-cut soul sound, has a different story about how they initially discovered the under-appreciated Muscle Shoals singer/songwriter who penned Cover Me for Percy Sledge and Breakfast In Bed for Dusty Springfield. Their personal testimonial almost always concludes with how they subsequently became Eddie evangelists for their own small circle of friends.
In the case of Darren Blase, the co-owner of Cincinnati's Shake It Records store and label happened across a 99-cent copy of Hinton's 1978 debut Very Extremely Dangerous (Capricorn) in a second-hand shop and grabbed it simply because the cover looked kinda cool. Once he got it home, he was delighted he did. Now, some 20 years later, Hinton's Very Extremely Dangerous is back in print, Zane Records' three volumes of his songwriting demos Dear Y'all, Playing Around and Beautiful Dream are all available on iTunes and Blase is in a position to spread the gospel according to Eddie with a series of limited seven-inch singles with some of his favourite artists covering Hinton's shoulda-been hits.    
Dangerous Highway - A Tribute To The Songs Of Eddie Hinton is planned to be a 10 single project with the first two volumes pressed in an edition of 2,000 copies apiece feature hardcore Hinton fan Greg Dulli on Volume 1 and the Drive-By Truckers do the honours for Volume 2.

 You can count on Dulli to revel in the darker aspects of Cover Me and Hard Luck Guy while the Truckers' Patterson Hood (son of Hinton's Muscle Shoals rhythm section buddy David Hood) sounds born to sing Everybody Needs Love and bassist Shonna Tucker brings an aching sweetness to Where's Eddie? which Hinton penned with Lulu in mind. Those two records are available from the Shake It Records site with follow-up installments from the Heartless Bastards and Hinton's songwriting partner Donnie Fritts due early in 2010.
It would be great to see fellow converts like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bobby Womack, Mavis Staples, the Black Keys and Kings Of Leon getting involved although, realistically, Blase's budget of $1,000 per artist probably wouldn't cover the parking costs for any of their tour buses. Of course, Blase would be the first to admit that this endeavour is not intended to be a big money-maker, just a labour of love by another Eddie convert trying to introduce a few more people to the greatest soul singer they've never heard.

Ting-A-Ling-Ling by Eddie Hinton, 1991

Everybody Needs Love by Drive-By Truckers @ Cox Theatre, Macon GA 08/20/09

MySpace www.myspace.com/eddiehintonzane
iTunes http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=19433
Shake It Records www.shakeitrecords.com
Zane Records www.zanerecords.com
Live at Rose's Cantina in Atlanta 1979

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I know first-hand that a lot of his close friends and folks down in Decatur, Georgia, would be thrilled to know that Eddie's music and legacy has taken root in Canada.