It’s a matter of pride for Ace that our friendship with Fame Records has allowed us to release not one but two splendid CDs by a man whose name will always be associated with that company: Jimmy Hughes. The Best Of collection that Fame released a year or so ago did much to put his name back in the public eye. Moreover, it whetted collector appetites for the remainder of his Fame recordings. Ace wanted to issue all of Jimmy’s Fame sides on Kent and last year Jimmy’s earlier sides were issued on a CD built around his first big hit and his first album, “Steal Away”.
“Why Not Tonight” picks up where that compilation left off and concludes our overview of Jimmy’s surviving Fame sides. We haven’t finished with him yet, either – later this year will see the first-ever CD release of his complete Volt discography, including 14 previously unissued tracks. Its release will mean that every surviving Jimmy Hughes master will be available on Kent - a boast we’re proud to make. Jimmy’s second original album provides the jumping off point, titled after his 1967 R&B Top 5 hit and comprised of tracks that had been recorded over the previous three years. The deep title track is only one highlight; the hit version of ‘Neighbor Neighbor’ has earned acclaim among clubgoers for 45 years. Its equally danceable flip ‘It’s A Good Thing’, is a favourite since I bought the 45. Northern fans will delight in having Jimmy’s original of Art Freeman’s perennial floor filler ‘Slippin’ Around With You’ on a Kent CD for the first time – Freeman’s version having been in our catalogue for more years than we care to remember! As with our first Hughes CD, we’ve added bonus tracks to the ten original tracks in the shape of singles not issued on LP and four originally unissued sides that Fame kindly exhumed from the vaults for us. Of these, Jimmy’s original of Jeffrey Allen’s Northern Soul rarity ‘Dilly Dilly’ will be of considerable interest to that crowd, while this previously undocumented take of ‘Neighbor Neighbor’ (recorded between the issued versions) will stoke up dancefloor fire among New Breeders everywhere. Other highlights include Jimmy’s wicked workout on ‘Hi Heel Sneakers’ (dig that crazy laugh!) and its beat ballad flip ‘Time Will Bring You Back’, cut around 1962 but not released until 1967 and still not fully appreciated as the early soul masterpiece it is. These 21 tracks reaffirm Jimmy’s status as a premier league pioneering soul man. They will again have purchasers shaking their heads in amazement that a man with so much talent had so little chart success. By Tony Rounce