Tuesday, August 07, 2007
The Iceman In Philly
Jerry Butler - Moody Woman
All the talk I did yesterday regarding "icemen" make Jerry Butler an appropriate choice for today's post. By the time Butler recorded "Moody Woman" for Mercury he had established himself as one of Chicago's finest soul singers with a string of hits on Vee-Jay, many of which involved his former Impressions bandmate Curtis Mayfield. When Vee-Jay folded in '66 Butler made his way to Mercury and in short order hooked up with Gamble and Huff, who were just starting to make their name known for their productions on a wide range of labels. The Butler-Gamble-Huff team struck paydirt right away with records like "Hey Western Union Man" and "Only The Strong Survive" rushing straight to the top of the charts. Butler would work with Gamble and Huff until the dawn of the '70s, when he would set up Fountain Productions in Chicago and start a songwriter's co-op from which to draw material.
"Moody Woman" features the sparkling sound that Gamble and Huff excelled at in those days, and Butler's cool vocals effectively handle the song's two tempos and dramatic chorus. Contrast Butler's smoothness, even in emotional sections, to Chuck Jackson's in yesterday's post and you'll see why I differentiated the two men in that post.