His niche in pop history secured long ago by "Sunny", Bobby Hebb is the latest Sixties soul icon to make a comeback, following the successful makeover releases by Solomon Burke, Bobby Purify, and the legendary voices (Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples, Ann Peebles, Billy Preston and Allen Toussaint) assembled for the I Believe to My Soul album. Sadly, Hebb doesn't have access to a visionary producer like Joe Henry or Dan Penn, who oversaw those projects, just an assemblage of German journeymen whose impersonal, jazzy MOR arrangements of songs like Little Milton's "We're Gonna Make It" and James Carr's "That's All I Wanna Know" are more suited to supper-club than soul show. The nadir is a terse, rushed version of Hank Williams's "Cold Cold Heart" which simply erodes all emotion from the song - a self-consciously cool performance resulting in a tepid recording. At the root of the problem is Hebb's vocal style, which is too diffident and lacking in emotional power, robbing the songs of any sense of conviction. By far the best effort is a version of "Proud Woman" written by Johnny ("The Tan Canary") Adams, whose relaxed, swingy style suits Hebb's manner better than most.
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