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Greatest Hits

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Album Review

When he died in 1984 at the relatively young age of 48, Z.Z. Hill went down in history as a great blues singer. But he was also an excellent soul singer, and this 1990 CD reminds us that he had as much to do with earthy, gospel-drenched Southern soul as he did with B.B. King-influenced electric blues. Focusing on Hill's Malaco output, Greatest Hits contains some inspired 12-bar numbers (including "Open House at My House," "Shade Tree Mechanic" and Denise LaSalle's "Someone Else Is Steppin' In") but is just as heavy in its R&B content. "Right Arm for Your Love," "Get a Little, Give a Little" and "Cheatin' in the Next Room" serve as fine examples of his unpretentious approach to Stax-influenced soul. And, of course, the CD boasts what became Hill's signature song, the infectious "Down Home Blues." For those who haven't experienced the impressive material Hill was delivering during the last years of his life, this CD would be the appropriate starting point.


Born: 30 September 1935 in Naples, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s

Texas-born singer Z.Z. Hill managed to resuscitate both his own semi-flagging career and the entire genre at large when he signed on at Jackson, MS-based Malaco Records in 1980 and began growling his way through some of the most uncompromising blues to be unleashed on black radio stations in many a moon. His impressive 1982 Malaco album Down Home Blues remained on Billboard's soul album charts for nearly two years, an extraordinary run for such a blatantly bluesy LP. His songs "Down Home Blues" and...
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Greatest Hits, Z.Z. Hill
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