Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Eddie Hinton - A Tragic Deep Soul Genius, part 1

 Peter B. Olson, University of Memphis and Mississippi State University

"Edward C. "Eddie" Hinton (1944-1995) was a guitarist and singer-songwriter whose career spanned the most vital part of the soul music era in Muscle Shoals. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hinton, who was white, participated in many recordings with black soul artists from Aretha Franklin to the Staple Singers to Percy Sledge. As a singer, Hinton is regarded among blues and soul aficionados as one of the great "blue-eyed soul" singers. As a guitarist, Hinton's playing reflects an authentic Delta blues style. Hinton often wrote in collaboration with Muscle Shoals composers such as Donnie Fritts, Marlin Greene, and Dan Penn. A Muscle Shoals session musician from 1967 until his death in 1995, Hinton also was the lead guitarist with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in the early-to-mid 1970s.
Eddie Hinton was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on June 15, 1944, to Laura Deanie and Horton C. Hinton. Hinton's parents divorced in 1949, and he and his mother moved to Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, where his mother married Paul Perkins some years later. Eddie had a close bond with grandfather Pryde Edward Hinton, a Church of Christ preacher, and later incorporated religiously inspired oratory into his music, notably in his song "Dear Y'All."

Eddie showed a musical aptitude as a child and learned to play guitar and sing, being inspired by teen singing idol Ricky Nelson. Eddie played basketball in high school and became a fan of the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team. He attended the University of Alabama for three years but withdrew when his musical pursuits beckoned. He had a natural gift for music and played drums and guitar equally well. He played in the Tuscaloosa area in the 1960s with a number of bands, including The Spooks and The Five Minutes. Among the players in the latter group were Johnny Sandlin (drums), Paul Hornsby (keyboard), and Paul Ballenger (guitar), who would later form a publishing partnership with Hinton. Hinton replaced Ballenger and guitarist Charlie Campbell in the newly reformed Five Minutes in 1965, and the band subsequently reformed again as Hour Glass, absorbing Duane and Gregg Allman into the line-up. When Hour Glass signed with Liberty Records and spent a year in Los Angeles, Hinton decided to remain behind to work in the recording scene in Muscle Shoals. Hinton began to record and produce for several recording studios in the Shoals, particularly Quin Ivy's Quinvy Studio in Sheffield, where Hinton and Marlin Greene wrote and produced songs for soul artists Don Varner and Bill Brandon on Quinvy's Southcamp imprint. When Duane Allman returned to the Shoals from Los Angeles in 1968, he and Eddie shared an apartment. Hinton's production work at Quinvy Records drew upon a blend of soul and blues styles that became quintessentially part of the so-called Muscle Shoals "sound," exemplified in Hinton's work with the Staple Singers and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (MSRS).
In 1969, Hinton collaborated with Johnny Sandlin on a project that included Duane Allman, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and the Memphis Horns. The record was released under the title The Duck and the Bear and has come to be considered a seminal recording in the southern rock genre. Hinton also was closely associated with the burgeoning southern rock scene centered around the Allman Brothers Band, formed by the brothers that same year. He was asked by guitarist Duane Allman to join the band but declined the offer and remained a session musician in Muscle Shoals. During Hinton's career in Muscle Shoals, he worked on recordings by Percy Sledge at Quinvy and with Otis Redding and Arthur Conley at FAME Studios. As a solo artist, Hinton released a single on Pacemaker Records (1969) featuring an original titled "Dreamer," and after April 1969 became a mainstay at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield. There, Hinton contributed to sessions with the Staple Singers, Cher, Lulu, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Womack, Ronnie Hawkins, R. B. Greaves, Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Johnny Jenkins, Herbie Mann, Arif Mardin, Don Covay, Solomon Burke, and Boz Scaggs.
Hinton recorded as part of the MSRS at Atlantic Records in New York, playing on Aretha Franklin's 1970 album This Girl's In Love With You. That same year, Hinton played with the MSRS on Laura Nyro's album Christmas and the Beads of Sweat (1970). Beyond his exemplary work with the Staple Singers, Hinton played on William Bell's Wow (1970), Elvis Presley's Elvis Country (1971), and Johnnie Taylor's Tailored in Silk (recorded between 1971 and 1973), Hinton fronted the MSRS on the Chuck Berry classic "Too Much Monkey Business" recorded in 1971 for a never-released MSRS project on Island Records.

An important songwriter and musical collaborator, Hinton co-wrote, with Marlin Greene, the southern soul classics "Cover Me" (1967) and "It's All Wrong But It's Alright" (1968) for Percy Sledge, and "Down In Texas" for Don Varner (1967). Eddie and Paul Ballenger produced Don Varner's cover of the Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham song "Power of Love," which became a hit for Hour Glass in 1968. With Donnie Fritts, Hinton composed "Breakfast in Bed" for Dusty Springfield (1969), "Choo Choo Train" for the Box Tops (produced by Dan Penn in 1968). Hinton contributed his song "Three Hundred Pounds of Hongry" to Tony Joe White's The Train I'm On (produced at Muscle Shoals Sound in 1972), and his songs "Can't Beat the Kid" and "Every Natural Thing" for John Hammond's Muscle-Shoals album Can't Beat the Kid (1975) and Hinton also contributed "Just a Little Bit Salty" to Bobby Womack's Home is Where the Heart Is, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in 1976. In 1977, Hinton recorded a solo album, Very Extremely Dangerous, at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio; it was produced by Barry Beckett for the Capricorn label and included a strong set of original songs as well as collaborations with Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts"...cont. in part 2.


pmac said...

Wow - what a double dose. Love that guys playing as a session musician. Looking forward to hearing his own music. Thanks, KC!

Moe said...

I have some of his music on my ipod, but i'm always looking for more. Thanks.

Feilimid O'Broin said...

Many thanks for this, le Roi. Hinton is yet another of those singers and songwriters whom I have heard about but not heard,. I discovered Dan Penn via this blog and know that Hinton played a similar role as as songwriter for soul artists; however, I am really keen to hear his vocals and guitar playing. As for "Breakfast In Bed", I was unaware that Dusty Springfield sang it until you posted a collection of her music. I first heard it in 1973 as sung by Lorna Bennett and Scotty on the reggae hit "Skank In Bed".

Anonymous said...

Wow! Loving this stuff.... thanks Kingcake for the many gems you have uncovered . As long as I have been loving music there is always more to discover.

KingCake said...


Lil'ol'lady said...

Hi, KingCake. Lolness thanks you for the generous re-ups! Lost some of these when a hard drive failed. Feels like meeting old friends again. Greetings and thank you's. Lil'ol'lady

muddyw123 said...

Thanks for the great info. Good music!

Anonymous said...


Thanx for this one! More music "discoveries." Amazon has blocked 1st part of U/L. Please, possible to re-up?

Ciao! For now.

KingCake said...

I just tested it and it worked fine...try again - easiest way is using J Downloader

Anonymous said...

works thanx

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