Thursday, 5 August 2010

“Shades Of Mitty Collier – The Chess Singles 1961– 1968” by MITTY COLLIER. A Review of the UK 2008 Kent Soul CD Compilation.

"…I Gotta Get Away From It All…"

Released in June 2008 on Kent Soul CDKEND 301, "Shades Of Mitty Collier" is a 24-track UK CD compilation which will finally allow fans to sequence all 15 of US Chess 7" singles as follows (69:07 minutes):

1. I've Got Love b/w I Got To Get Away From It All
(Chess 1791 from June 1961, Tracks 24 and 23, A & B-sides)
2. Don't Let Her Take My Baby b/w I Dedicate My Life To You
(Chess 1814 from March 1962, Track 21, A-side only)
3. Miss Loneliness b/w My Babe
(Chess 1856 from June 1963, Tracks 20 and 22, A & B-sides)
4. I'm Your Part Time Love b/w Don’t You Forget It
(Chess 1871 from October 1963, Track 17, A-side only)
5. Pain b/w Let Them Talk
(Chess 1889 from March 1964, Track 19, B-side only)
6. I Had A Talk With My Man b/w Free Girl (In The Morning)
(Chess 1907 from October 1964, Track 18, A-side only)
7. No Faith, No Love b/w Together
(Chess 1918 from January 1965, Track 16, A-side only)
8. Come Back Baby b/w Ain't That Love
(Chess 1934 from March 1965, Track 15, B-side only)
9. Help Me b/w For My Man
(Chess 1942 from July 1965, Tracks 13 and 14, A & B-sides)
10. Sharing You b//w Walk Away
(Chess 1953 from March 1966, Tracks 11 and 12, A & B-sides)
11. My Party b/w I'm Satisfied
(Chess 1964 from July 1966, Tracks 9 and 10, A & B-sides)
12. (Looking' Out The Window) Watching And Waiting b/w Like Only Yesterday
(Chess 1987 from December 1966, Tracks 7 and 8, A & B-sides)
13. Do It With Confidence b/w You're The Only One
(Chess 2015 from July 1967, Tracks 5 and 6, A & B-sides)
14. Git Out b/w That'll Be Good Enough For Me
(Chess 2035 from December 1967, Tracks 3 and 4, A & B-sides)
15. Gotta Get Away From It All b/w Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes
(Chess 2050 from 1968, Tracks 1 and 2, A & B-sides)

This release will also allow you to sequence almost all of her lone album on the famous label entitled "Shades Of A Genius" which was issued in 1966 on Chess LP 1492.

Side 1:
1. Come Back Baby
2. I Had A Talk With My Man Last Night [18]
3. Would You Have Listened
4. Gotta Get Away From It All [23]
5. My Babe [20]
6. Hallelujah (I Love Him So)
Side 2:
1. Drown In My Own Tears
2. No Faith, No Love [16]
3. Together
4. Let Them Talk [19]
5. Little Miss Loneliness [22]
6. Ain't That Love [15]

1. "I Got To Get Away From It All" on Chess 1791 is Version 1 (Track 23) while "Gotta Get Away From It All" is a remake on Chess 2050 which is Version 2 (Track 1)
2. Excepting "I'm Your Part Time Love", "I Had A Talk With My Man" and "Don't Let Her Take My Baby" (which are in MONO), all other tracks are in STEREO
3. As you can see from the two lists above there are 8 singles complete, but six sides are missing and 5 of the album tracks aren’t on here either. However, 4 of those single sides and 3 of the missing LP tracks are available elsewhere - on the 1999 Chess CD compilation called "Shades Of A Genius".

The booklet is the usual classy affair from Ace Records of the UK, a 16-page info-packed break down of her legacy by noted expert and soul lover TONY ROUNCE. Each single is pictured with label bags, there's the withdrawn sleeve of her lone album "Shades Of Mitty Collier" (featured another woman!) along with US trade magazine adverts. The CD itself apes the front page of the colour booklet while the inlay beneath the see-through tray features snaps of Pye International 7" demos and Chess Records adverts - all of it very nice touches.

Sound - it's been mastered by NICK ROBBINS and has had audio restoration work done by ROB SHREAD at Sound Mastering in the UK. The audio quality is superb given the vintage - the usual top job done by Ace.

Track highlights for me are the extraordinary torch ballad "Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes" (written by Lloyd Reese) - a B-side with the balls of an A. The cover of Ray Charles' "Ain't That Love" sounds like Barbara Lewis at her Atlantic best while the Northern Soul dancefloor favourite "My Babe" (a Little Walter cover) is a belter.

History tells us that like Florence Ballard at Motown (looked over for Diana Ross), Mitty Collier felt her releases were second fiddle in the promotion department to Chess's other killer singer - Etta James. Collier charted only 4 titles out of 15 across a near 8-year period, but Rounce also quite rightly notes that this also showed Leonard and Phil Chess' commitment to their artists - they stood by them - even in the dry patches. In the end perhaps Mitty Collier was too soulful for the public to take ("Like Only Yesterday") or the songs just weren't catchy enough for the charts to go crazy over ("My Party").

Still, at least we are left with this legacy of superb powerhouse soul tracks to enjoy. Ace is to be congratulated for this release – because once again, they deliver the goodies.

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