Big John Hamilton
“Listen – Big John Hamilton – How Much Can a Man Take – MP3″
Typically, I’ve managed to fall directly out of vacation into an extremely busy week. If any among you harbors delusions about the life of a stay at home dad being one of leisure, the week that I find myself in the middle of should be enough to change your mind. There’s plenty to do (and then some).
That said, things are going well, and I’m not missing my previous situation at all (aside from the paychecks…).
The weather – as it usually is this time of year – is in the midst of a schizophrenic cycle in which you really need to leave the house with a variety of garments in order to guarantee your comfort. We got home on Saturday, and it was 75 degrees and sunny. By Monday morning it was back in the mid-40s and as the day wore on the cold air was added to with torrential rain. I was out running errands with visions of a weeks worth of mail sitting on the porch turning into mush. Fortunately, aside from an LP (which found a small amount of shelter inside the screen door) the remainder of the mail (including a 45) fit inside the mailbox.
The tune I bring you today is the happy end result of my recently instituted vinyl austerity measures, in which the lack of gainful employment has diminished (though thankfully not stopped) the influx of newly acquired records.
I saw the 45 pop up on a set sale list (with a sound clip!), and decided that before I contacted the seller, I ought to do a little comparison shopping on the interwebs, during which I located a perfectly wonderful copy of the 45 in question at roughly a third of the original asking price.
I originally wanted this Big John Hamilton record for the funky tune ‘Big Fanny’, but when the disc fell through the mail slot and I gave both sides a listen, I decided that it was the other side of the record, a deep ballad entitiled ‘How Much Can a Man Take’ that ought to be blog-o-ma-phied*.
I can’t say I know much about Big John Hamilton, other than that he seems to have hailed from the Sunshine State of Florida, and recorded a grip of 45s for the SSS Intl and Minaret labels in the late 60s/early 70s. The only record I already owned of his was a smoking version of ‘Them Changes’ on which he was paired with singer Doris Allen.
‘How Much Can a Man Take’ – recorded in 1968 – is a stellar bit of deep southern soul (rumored to have been recorded in Muscle Shoals). It is in many ways a perfectly constructed example of the genre, with the quieter verses (with wonderful, bluesy guitar flourishes) building gradually into powerful, horn backed choruses. Though I wouldn’t place Hamilton in the first rank of soul wailers, he was a more than adequate singer with touches of Otis Redding in his delivery (if not the quality of his voice).
‘How Much Can a Man Take’ is the kind of record I started collecting soul for, and I could spend all day listening to stuff like this.
I hope you dig it too, and I’ll be back at the end of the week with something upbeat.
*Though, I guarantee you that ‘Big Fanny’ will show up here at some point…