Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mitty Collier - Git Out

Miss Mitty Collier
One of the recurring themes in 60’s soul music (and the discussion thereof in this space) is the gospel roots of it’s performers. Gospel music did a lot to inform the stylings of soul music and this fact is 100% attributable to performers passing from one genre to another (and sometime back again). One such performer is the great Mitty Collier. Collier began her career as a vocalist in the Hayes Ensemble. After an extended visit to Chicago, during which she won a local talent contest several times, Collier was signed to Chess Records, where she began her recording career in 1961. Between ’61 and ’68 she recorded a number of 45s and one LP for the label, including her 1964 R&B Top 10 hit ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ (which was based on James Cleveland’s ‘I Had A Talk With My God Last Night’). I first heard Collier years ago on a budget comp of Chess “girl singers”, and don’t remember being too jazzed about her. The fact that it was a ballad had something to with my sub-par evaluation. As I’ve stated here before, in the early days fo my soul fandom/collecting my ears were attuned largely to gritty, upbeat Southern soul shouting – which is why I probably replayed Etta James’s cuts on the same compilation several times while passing Collier over after a cursory investigation. Flash forward years later, portable in hand as I dig through boxes of 45’s, recognize the name Mitty Collier, and seeing the tempting title ‘Git Out’, toss the 45 on my “try-out” stack. Good thing I did too. Today’s entry is a cut that is as far as Collier ever got from her gospel roots (even if the flip side was another James Cleveland composition). Co-written by Cash McCall and produced by the mighty Monk Higgins is an ass-kicker of the first order, that like many a 1967 soul record treads mighty close to the border or Funkytown. The production on ‘Git Out’ is first rate and raw as hell. The drums are loud, the bass thick and juicy, the bluesy lead guitar twangy, and the vocals are powerful. Essentially a soulful declaration of independence, equal parts defiance and anger, ‘Git Out’ has a fantastic set of lyrics, in which the departing two-timer is described alternately as a “love prospector”, “stone Casanova”, “home wrecker”, “back door man” and “sweet game hunter” (??). Collier’s vocal is raw and Tina Turner-esque, sounding as if she was laying her vocal down with her foot planted firmly in the hind quarters of an actual cheating boyfriend (“15 takes....come ON baby?!?!”). In 1969 Collier moved from Chess to William Bell’s Atlanta-based Peachtree records (home also to Johnny Jones & The King Casuals among others) and recorded several 45s for that label. After the early 70’s she returned to gospel music, and is as we speak a minister in Chicago and continues to perform. I’m surprised that a track this powerful isn’t more popular. As far as I can tell it’s not available on a reissue of any kind. It shouldn’t be too hard to track down. My copy was a dollar bin find, but I’ve seen it listed in the $15 to $20 range, which is perfectly reasonable for a track of distinction such as this.


Anonymous gee said...

great track this.
ballsy (if you know what i mean),
thanks as ever from rainy blighty

11/17/2005 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Reverend Frost said...

that made my day, thanks!

11/17/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Todd Lucas said...

Mitty Collier is someone I've wondered about. Don't have any of her records but I really like this one. Another one for "the list".

11/18/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This great track is available on a Kent CD called "Chess Club Rhythm & Soul". Well worth picking up.

11/18/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous cj grogan said...

Pretty rockin track, like the back up singing and the bass in the background in the break. Nice horn section as well.

11/20/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Excellent! I never heard of her until today.

11/22/2005 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Amazon Thirteen said...

I grew up in Alabama and I'm very familiar with Mitty Collier, She use to use her full name, Mitty Lean Collier. The Album, "Shades Of A Genius", I am fortunate to have it. The entire Album is absolutely great! I Had A Talk With My Man Last Night, Free Girl, I've Got To Get Away From It All. When I first bought the Album about 20 years ago, I made a Cassette Tape of it. I haven't played that Album since I made that tape. It is in immaculate condition. I plan on recording it to CD sometime soon. Anyone who can get their hands on a copy will truly enjoy it, every single cut on the Album is great!

7/01/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger ohkehdaddy said...

The Kent Soul label also did a "Shades of Mitty Collier: the Chess Singles 1961-1968" which is a real gem.

4/01/2009 07:20:00 PM  

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