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  Willie Hutch
 

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Click below for a Willie Hutch sample:

In and Out

 

 

  

 

Willie Hutch was an artist most notable for recording two of the better blaxploitation soundtracks, The Mack and Foxy Brown, yet his legacy is so much greater. In fact, outside of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and possibly Smokey Robinson, you can make the case that Hutch was Motown's top male solo artist of the 70s.

He developed his skills as a writer for the Soul City label, where the Fifth Dimension recorded his early compositions. Hutch also made his recording debut on the label, issuing two albums in the late 60s. It was during this era that he cultivated relationships with key employees at Motown.

Hutch was introduced to the Motown family under pressure-packed circumstances when he was asked to pen the lyrics to what would be known as "I'll Be There" overnight. After contributing work on additional material by the Jackson Five, then at the peak of their popularity, he was formally welcomed into the fold.

When he got the chance to score The Mack, he came up with songs that accurately reflected the film's emotion and developments. "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" has been an anthem for over 30 years and "Theme From the Mack" is on par with anything on Superfly as far as creating an aural portrait of a character. These songs established the Hutch signature sound of layered percussion, guitar, and slightly atmospheric arrangements, a style he used throughout the 70s.

Aside from the soundtracks, Hutch was probably best known for his production credits. He was given the honor of producing Smokey's first solo album, and he also worked with the Sisters Love (the ladies from The Mack). For some reason, the Sisters material remains unreleased. He was also responsible for some of Gwen McCrae's best 1980s tunes, like "Keep the Fires Burning."

Naturally, he produced his own albums. They did not receive the attention of many of the artists he worked with, but nearly all are now considered highly collectable. Of particular interest are Ode to My Lady and Mark of the Beast. Following his Motown stint, he joined fellow Motown alum Norman Whitfield for some recordings in the late 70s. He bounced back to the place of his greatest success for "In and Out" in 1983 and continued to record until his death on September 19, 2005.

 

Willie Hutch's Deepest Grooves

Soul Portrait (RCA, 1969)

Season for Love (RCA, 1970)

The Mack (Motown, 1973)
One of the top 5 blaxploitation soundtracks, trailing only perhaps Superfly and Across 110th Street.  His shining moment. "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" is still an anthem. 

Fully Exposed (Motown, 1973)

Foxy Brown (Motown, 1974)

Mark of the Beast (Motown, 1975)
Rare slab of soul with an apocalyptic slant.  "Get Ready for the Get Down" is the cut here.

Ode to My Lady (Motown, 1975)

Color Her Sunshine (Motown, 1976)

Having A House Party (Motown, 1977)

In Tune (Whitfield, 1978)
Some of the songs here have ("Easy Does It") cropped up on rare groove compilations like Natural High. 

In and Out (Motown, 1983)

From the Heart (Omni, 1994)

The Mack Is Back (Midwest, 1996)

The Very Best of Willie Hutch (Motown, 1998)

Try It You'll Like It: The Best of Willie Hutch (Expansion, 2005)
British collection of Hutch tracks goes a bit deeper than the Motown disc.  Recommended if the price between the two are comparable.  

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