Wednesday, April 7, 2021

VA - Hi Times, The Hi Records R&B Years [1995] (3 x CD's)


VA - Hi Times, The Hi Records R&B Years [1995] (3 x CD's)

Hi Times: Hi Records R&B Years is a superb three-disc box set covering all of the label's greatest hits, plus a number of forgotten gems. Al Green understandably dominates the set, since he not only was Hi's biggest artist, he also defined the label's sound with producer Willie Mitchell. As a result, the music on these three discs can sound a little similar at times, but the songwriting and performances from the likes of Green, Ann Peebles, and Joe Clay is first-rate, making Hi Times a necessary addition to any serious soul collection. (AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Hi Records was a label with personality, thanks in large part to its strongman, Willie Mitchell. Generally pictured as the rambunctious little brother of Stax, Hi actually dates back to 1957, but its heyday coincided with label golden-boy Al Green's commercial flowering in the '70s. Hi Times opens with a 1959 track from old Elvis sideman Bill Black and ends with a 1977 recording from Green's The Belle Album, which pretty much signaled the end of his (or anyone else's) top-dog-of-soul reign. In between, there's a neat sampling of Memphis sounds highlighted by the '70s classics of Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, O.V. Wright, and Otis Clay. (Amazon)

This is a fantastic compilation album of equally fantastic songs and artists! Hi Records is often overlooked for their contributions to soul, and specifically the Memphis sound, but this is a must for anyone who truly loves American R&B music.



Track lists


01 Bill Black Combo Smokie Part 2 2:10

02 Willie Mitchell The Crawl 2:08

03 Willie Mitchell Sunrise Serenade 2:18

04 Ben Branch Soul In De Hole 3:25

05 Bowlegs Miller What Do You Mean 2:22

06 Willie Mitchell 20-75 2:17

07 Willie Mitchell Buster Browne 2:13

08 Janet & The Jays Love What You're Doing To Me 2:23

09 Don Bryant Don't Turn Your Back On Me 2:11

10 Willie Mitchell & The Four Kings Featuring Don Bryant Everything Is Gonna Be All Right 2:24

11 Don Bryant Doing The Mustang 2:33

12 Willie Mitchell & The Four Kings Featuring Don Bryant That Driving Beat 2:10

13 Willie Mitchell Soul Serenade 2:22

14 Willie Mitchell 30-60-90 2:28

15 Willie Mitchell Teenie's Dream 2:13

16 Willie Mitchell Robin's Nest 2:39

17 Kim Melvin Doin' The Popcorn 2:48

18 Big Amos Patton Move With Me Baby 2:22

19 Lucky Carter Please Don't Leave Me 2:28

20 Lucky Carter Stop Arguing Over Me 2:24

21 Ann Peebles Walk Away 3:13

22 Ann Peebles Part Time Love 2:55

23 Ann Peebles I'll Get Along 2:11

24 Ann Peebles I Pity The Fool 3:00

25 Al Green I Want To Hold Your Hand 2:23

26 Al Green The Letter 2:28


01 Al Green I Can't Get Next To You 3:53

02 Al Green Tired Of Being Alone 2:44

03 Al Green Let's Stay Together 3:19

04 George Jackson Aretha, Sing One For Me 3:00

05 Otis Clay Trying To Live My Life Without You 2:52

06 Otis Clay I Didn't Know The Meaning Of Pain 2:51

07 David Duke Gimme Some Lovin' 2:51

08 Bobo Mr. Soul Hitch-Hiking Back To Heartbreak 3:01

09 Ace Cannon Drunk 2:45

10 Ann Peebles (I Feel Like) Breaking Up Somebody's Home 2:30

11 Ann Peebles I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down 2:54

12 Al Green I'm Still In Love With You 3:14

13 Al Green Simply Beautiful 4:14

14 Syl Johnson Take Me To The River 3:04

15 Syl Johnson Anyway The Wind Blows 3:01

16 Syl Johnson We Did It 2:49

17 Al Green Call Me (Come Back Home) 3:04

18 Al Green You Ought To Be With Me 3:20

19 Al Green Here I Am (Come And Take Me) 4:15

20 Quiet Elegance You've Got My Mind Messed Up 2:54

21 Ann Peebles I Can't Stand The Rain 2:33

22 Ann Peebles Come To Mama 2:55


01 Darryl Carter Looking Straight Ahead 2:50

02 Gene Anderson & The Internationals Your Love Must Be Voodoo Part 1 & Part 2 4:59

03 Syl Johnson Back For A Taste Of Your Love 2:39

04 Syl Johnson Wind Blow Her Back My Way 2:31

05 Otis Clay If I Could Reach Out 2:53

06 Emma Coffee You Made Me What I Am 2:55

07 Al Green Let's Get Married 3:22

08 Al Green Sha La La (Make Me Happy) 3:01

09 Al Green L-O-V-E (Love) 3:08

10 Syl Johnson Let Yourself Go 3:05

11 Syl Johnson I Want To Take You Home (To See Mama) 2:36

12 Hi Rhythm Section Superstar 3:39

13 Hi Rhythm Section with Al Perkins Moody 2:14

14 Veneice Stark I Still Love You 3:25

15 Rufus Thomas Fried Chicken 3:09

16 Al Green Love And Happiness 5:03

17 O.V. Wright Into Something (Can't Shake Loose) 3:59

18 O.V. Wright Precious, Precious 3:32

19 O.V. Wright I Don't Do Windows 2:21

20 Al Green Belle 4:47




  1. Onya, Butterboy! Great music from one of the great Memphis soul labels.

    1. Hi Jimmy,
      I never get tired listening to this set.


  2. Really fantastic music Butterboy, thanks for the share

    1. Hi Little Bill.
      As I said to @Jimmy above, I never get tired listening to this music.


  3. thank you from Aussie Butterboy

    1. Hi Aussie,
      Hope all is well.
      Enjoy this set. Its a great one.


  4. Hi!

    Thanx for this Soul set. Some "new" artists & "new" hears here.

    Ciao! For now.

  5. Thanks BB. I had the sampler, but not the full 3 CD set. Got it now...

  6. Hi BB.. This is a welcome and truly exciting post.. AWESOME!!

    I had no idea this collection existed.. Hi Records was great!
    I've long respected Hi.. great artists, production and sound!

    Here's two related YouTube links I think will be of interest ...

    Label owner Willie Mitchell on Al Green and Hi Studios

    Very recent recreation (good sound) of Al Green classics (with interviews)
    from The Hi Rhythm Section and former "Tower of Power" singer Marcus Scott

    1. Hi mrRadio,
      I wanted to watch the clips/video before I commented.
      Again thank you for pointing me in the direction of YouTube. I don't spend any time looking at YouTube, But I must say I am scared to as there is so much wonderful background information and musical moment to absorb. I probably would get lost in things I haven't yet seen, and there is lots of it to be had.I really enjoyed the Willie Mitchell discussion. I found it emotional and heartwarming too. The mini concert with the Hi Band was also great. I am going to look at Marcus Scott a little more. Great voice. Thanks again.

      I have many records from the Hi catalog and always think that the sound is one step ahead of the others (with the exception of Muscle Shoals).

      Enjoy the music on this set.