Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Take an inspired producer at the peak of his powers, a great team of session players, and an uncommonly subtle and graceful R&B singer, and what do you have? Top-tier Memphis soul.

The feminine counterpart to Al Green on producer Willie Mitchell's Hi label, Ann Peebles had a strong run through the '70s during which she put out a string of R&B hits, many of which have since been revived by famed fans of the singer and the Memphis style. "I Can't Stand the Rain," released in 1974, was Ann Peebles' finest album for Hi Records, and it should have been a massive success. Instead, while it's celebrated in Europe and now considered an anthem, it floundered and barely scraped the pop charts, although the single was her biggest R&B hit. In an interview, John Lennon once called it "the greatest record ever," which, hyperbole aside, shows the impact the song had on attentive ears.

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