Friday, July 4, 2008

The Secret Life of Collier, Mitty

It's telling that I have to rely upon folks from outside the country -- in this case, the good people at Kent Records in the UK -- to fill me in on a lot of great music that came out of Chicago back in the 1960s.

A couple of days ago, Kent released "Shades of Mitty Collier: The Chess Singles, 1961-1968," which compiles all fifteen of Mitty's Chess 45s, plus several of her B-sides. I took a shot on this disc even though I was familiar with only a couple of Mitty's records. I'm delighted I did because this one's a keeper. Why she wasn't a major star, I'll never know.

If you're not familiar with Mitty, check out this clip from Hoss Allen's mid-1960s TV show, "The Beat," which was filmed in Nashville -- and is now available on DVD courtesy of, go figure, Germany's Bear Family label. Here, Mitty is lip-synching her biggest hit, "I Had A Talk With My Man," while Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown is pretending to lead the band.

(Although "The Beat" did feature some lip-synching, the six DVDs, which feature twenty-six episodes, showcase a lot of blistering live performances.)

Mitty turned 67 a few days ago and, rumor has it, still runs a church here in Chicago. I should probably make a pilgrimage soon.

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