ZZ Hill

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Z.Z. Hill

Arzell Hill was born Sept. 30, 1935 in Naples, Tx. He started out singing gospel with a quintet called the Spiritual Five, but was lured to blues and soul music. Inevitably he began performing around Dallas but moved to California to release his debut single on M.H.Records, started by his brother Matt Hill. "You Were Wrong" briefly dented the pop chart in 1964 (reached #100). Follow up singles on Kent, including the now classic "I Need Someone", didn't chart. He then released singles for Atlantic, Mankind, and brother Matt's Hill Records. In 1971 he finally scored his first big hit for United Artists. "Don't Make Me Pay For His Mistakes" hit #17 on R & B and #62 Pop. Several more hits followed (including a new version of "I Need Someone" #30 R & B) before his 1977 Columbia single "Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It" became a smash at #15 R & B. When he switched to Malaco Records he started a blues revival. 1982's "Down Home Blues" was a smash, hitting #17 on R & B album charts and he followed that up with a string of similar soul/blues albums prior to his 1984 heart attack. Truly one of the legends of the genre.

Album Discography

"Whole Lot of Soul" (Kent 1969)

"Brand New Z.Z. Hill" (Mankind 1971; SDEG 2003)

1. It Ain't No Use (Act I, Scene I)
2. Ha Ha (Laughing Song - Act I, Scene II)
3. Second Chance (Act II, Scene I)
4. Our Love Is Getting Better (Act II, Scene II)
5. Faithful and True (Act III, Finale)
6. Choking Kind
7. Hold Back (One Man At a Time)
8. A Man Needs a Woman (Woman Need a Man)
9. Early in the Morning
10. I Think I'd Do It
11. Suppertime (Home Just Ain't Home At)
12. Just As I Am
13. Touch 'Em With Love
14. Put a Little Love in Your Heart
15. Just As I Am (Collectors Version)
16. Faithful and True (Collectors Version)
17. It's a Hang Up Baby
18. Put a Little Love in Your Heart (Collectors Version)
19. Hold Back (One Man At a Time - Collectors Version)
20. Early in the Morning (Collectors Version)
21. I Think I'd Do It (Collectors Version)

**** Classic LP produced by Swamp Dogg contains several popular Z.Z. Hill titles like "Second Chance", "A Man Needs A Woman" & Joe Simon's chestnut "The Choking Kind". Country soul numbers like "Hold Back (One Man At A Time)" and "Faithful And True" were his norm at this point but the down home bluesy "It Ain't No Use" portends a career path. Several tunes were written by Jerry Williams aka "Swamp Dogg" and Gary U.S. Bonds. Swamp Dogg re-issued the album on cd in 2003 with 10 bonus cuts.

"The Bluest Blues" (Excello 1971)

1 Act I - Scene I - "It Ain't No Use"
2 Scene II - "Ha Ha" (Laughing Song)
3 Act II - Scene I - "Second Chance"
4 Scene II - "Our Love Is Getting Better"
5 Act III - Finale - "Faithful And True"
6 Choking King
7 Hold Back (One Man At A Time)
8 A Man Needs A Woman (A Woman Needs A Man)
9 Early In The Morning
10 I Think I'd Do It

"Dues Paid In Full" (Kent 1972)

1 Happiness Is All I Need
2 Hey Little Girl
3 I Need Someone
4 You Don't Love Me
5 If I Could Do It All Over
6 Everybody Has To Cry
7 That's It
8 What More
9 Oh Darling
10 Have Mercy Someone
11 I Found Love
12 Set Your Sights Higher

*** Collection of blues & soul singles released on Kent 1964-1965 including the first version of "I Need Someone". Other Hill originals include "Happiness Is All I Need", "Everybody Have To Cry" & "If I Could Do It All Over".

"The Best Thing That's Happened To Me" (United Artists 1972)

1 - I've Got To Get You Back
2 - You Were Wrong
3 - Your Love Makes Me Feel Good
4 - My Adorable One
5 - Can I Get A Witness
6 - Love In The Street
7 - Your Love
8 - Cause I Love You
9 - Dream Don't Let Me Down
10- Friendship Only Goes So Far

*** First UA album scored a hit with Bobby Bland's "Ain't Nothing You Can Do". The set is comprised of gutbucket R & B ("Little Red Rooster") and Southern Soul.

"Z.Z. Hill" (United Artists 1974)

1.It Ainít Safe
2.Let Them Talk
3.Am I Groovin' You
4.Snap Your Fingers
5.Bad Mouth And Gossip
6.Clean Up America
7.Country Love
8.The Best I Ever Had
9.Two Wrongs Don't Make It Rihgt
10.Youíre Killing Me (Slowly But Surely)
11.Funny Face

"Keep On Loving You" (United Artists 1975)

1 I Created A Monster
2 That Ain't The Way You Make Love
3 Steppin' In The Shoes Of A Fool
4 Two Sides To Every Story
5 Am I Groovin You
6 I Keep On Lovin' You
7 Who Ever's Thrillin You (Is Killing Me)
8 Look What You've Done
9 My Turn
10 I Don't Need Half A Love

"Let's Make A Deal" (Columbia 1977)

1. Universal Love
2. This Time They Told Me the Truth
3. Stop by and Love Me Sometime
4. Thats All Thats Left
5. You Got Me Doin the Disco
6. Message to the Ladies, A
7. Lets Make a Deal
8. Love Is So Good When Youre Stealing It
9. Need You by My Side
10. Near But Yet So Far

"The Mark Of Z.Z. Hill" (Columbia 1979)

1. Lets Have a Party
2. I Wanna Dance With You
3. Just Because Were No Longer Lovers
4. I Want to Be Your Every Need
5. Whip It on Me Baby
6. I Dont Want Our Love to Be No Secret
7. I Will Understand
8. Tell It Like It Is

"Z.Z. Hill" (Malaco 1981)

1. Separate Way
2. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
3. Something Good Going On
4. Bring It on Home to Me
5. Please Don't Make Me (Do Something Bad to You)
6. Chained to Your Love
7. Rolling Stone
8. Bump and Grind
9. Blue Monday

** 1/2 It's easy to forget that Hill's Malaco debut was not "Down Home" but this self-titled warm-up. While it's mostly sturdy Southern Soul ("Separate Ways", "Bring It On Home To Me"), Hill's first step into contemporary soul/blues appears with the hard rollin' "Bump & Grind" and his excellent take on "Blue Monday". He perfected his style on the follow up.

"Down Home" (Malaco 1982)

1. Down Home Blues
2. Cheatin' in the Next Room
3. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
4. Love Me
5. That Means So Much to Me
6. When Can We Do This Again
7. Right Arm for Your Love
8. When It Rains It Pours
9. Woman Don't Go Astray
10. Givin' It Up for Your Love

***** Classic LP gave a huge boost to the stagnate soul/blues world when "Down Home Blues" blew up on juke boxes and urban radio. The genre has never been the same. The George Jackson staple is a flawless piece of goodtime soulful blues. Sit back, get comfortable, kick off your shoes and listen to some down home blues. How can you argue with that? Still, what helped the album climb to #17 on Billboard's R & B Albums Chart was "Cheatin' In The Next Room" (again by Jackson, this time with Robert Miller). A delicate soul melody with an exquisite horn arrangement. (Despite the objectionable infidelity theme) this is a real jewel that managed a #19 placing on singles charts. The other eight cuts here are none too shabby either. The poppin' R & B of "Right Arm Of Your Love" and "Givin' It Up For Your Love" are both credited to Swamp Dogg. There's also faithful covers of Little Johnny Taylor's "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" and King Floyd's "Woman Don't Go Astray". Every blues collection should include this album.

"The Rhythm & The Blues" (Malaco 1982)

1. Someone Else Is Steppin' In
2. What Am I Gonna Tell Her
3. Open House at My House
4. Who You Been Giving It To
5. That Fire Is Hot
6. Wang Dang Doodle
7. Outside Thang
8. You're Gonna Be a Woman
9. Help Me, I'm in Need
10. Get You Some Business

**** Quick follow up keeps the momentum going full speed with prime soul/blues winners like Denise LaSalle's "Somebody Else Steppin' In". Although this classic has since been covered by stalwarts like Ernestine Anderson, Buddy Guy, Johnnie Taylor and LaSalle herself, none match Hill's version. George Jackson provides two more quality songs, the down home blues "Get You Some Business" and pleading slowie "Help Me I'm In Need". Frank-O Johnson provides four ingratiating showcases for Hill's throaty grit (three written with M. Misole and one with Thomisene Anderson). The best being "That Fire is Hot" and bittersweet "What I'm Gonna Tell Her". Once again Hill borrows one of Little Johnny Taylor's hits, "Open House In My House". (I still prefer LJT's). Another standout is the chugging R & B "Who You Been Givin' It To". His vocal inflection on "sho(sure) ain't giving it to me" is a hook in itself.

"I'm A Blues Man" (Malaco 1983)

1. I'm a Blues Man
2. Three into Two Won't Go
3. Cheatin' Love
4. Shade Tree Mechanic
5. It's Been So Long
6. Get a Little, Give a Little
7. Please Don't Let Our Good Thing End
8. Steal Away
9. Blind Side
10. I Ain't Buying What You're Selling

****1/2 Third hit platter in a row by Hill and Malaco starts with another instant standard, "I'm A Blues Man". No objection. "I was raised up on Jimmy Reed/Corn bread, collard greens and black-eyed peas/Turn my first bath in Muddy Water/All you mothers you better lock up your daughters/I'm a blues man" he sings. The song is a first cousin to Willie Dixon's classic "I'm A Man (Mannish Boy)". Rich Cason and Jimmy Lewis wrote the next hit, "Three Into Two Won't Go". Lewis also provided the intriguing "Get A Little, Give A Little", which instructs menfolk to fork out some greenbacks 'cuz a lover can't live on lovin' alone. All 10 tracks here are first-rate. Other jukebox hits were "Shade Tree Mechanic" and Frank-O Johnson's "Please Don't Let Our Good Thing End"

"Bluesmaster" (Malaco 1984)

1. You're Ruining My Bad Reputation
2. Bottom Line Woman
3. She Got the Goods on Me
4. Breakdown
5. Personally
6. Champange Lady
7. Be Strong Enough to Hold On
8. I'm Gonna Stop You from Givin' Me the Blues
9. Friday Is My Day
10. I'll Be Your Witness
11. Why Don't You Spend the Night

*** Last record released while Z.Z. was alive begins with Denise Lasalle's "You're Ruining My Bad Reputation", a decent clone of "Down Home Blues". Hill's gritty growl is in full effect here. Other tasty nuggets include the swift shuffler "Bottom Line Woman", 70s-styled soul "Personally" and pounding blues "Friday Is My Day". Although not as riveting as the previous three outings, "Bluesmaster" is a solid soul/blues record.

"Thrill On The Hill" (Rare Bullet 1984)

1 I Think I'd Do It
2 Early In The Morning
3 Hold Back (One Man At A Time)
4 Put A Little Love In Your Heart
5 Faithful And True
6 Just As I Am
7 Touch 'Em With Love
8 The Z.Z. Hill

"In Memorian (1935-1984)" (Malaco 1985)

1. Down Home Blues
2. Bump and Grind
3. Wang Dang Doodle
4. When It Rains It Pours
5. Givin' It Up for Your Love
6. Someone Else Is Steppin' In
7. I'm a Blues Man
8. Please Don't Make Me (Do Something Bad to You)
9. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
10. Get You Some Business

***1/2 First attempt at a "best of" from Hill's successful 1980-1984 run collects some of the essentials ('Down Home Blues", "I'm A Blues Man", "Someone Else Steppin' In") but inexplicably leaves out hits like "Cheatin' In The Next Room" making this a pointless undertaking.

"A Man Needs A Woman" (Topline 1986)

Tracks taken from Swamp Dogg produced "Brand New Z.Z. Hill" and obscure LP "Thrill On The Hill".

1 It Ain't No Use
2 Faithful And True
3 Chokin' Kind
4 Early in the Morning
5 Second Chance
6 Hold Back
7 I Think I'll Do It
8 Our Love Is Getting Better
9 Man Needs a Woman
10 Ha Ha (The Laughing Song)
11 Take Me (Just as I Am)
12 Touch 'Em With Love

"Greatest Hits" (Malaco 1990)

1. Cheatin' in the Next Room
2. Down Home Blues
3. Please Don't Let Our Good Thing End
4. Right Arm for Your Love
5. Open House at My House
6. Someone Else Is Steppin' In
7. Get a Little, Give a Little
8. Shade Tree Mechanic
9. Three into Two Won't Go
10. Stop You from Givin' Me the Blues
11. Friday Is My Day

**** Second attempt at a "best of" compilation (following "In Memorium") makes the same mistake. It gathers some essentials ("Down Home Blues", "Cheatin' In The Next Room", "Somebody Else Slippin' In", "Three Into Two Won't Go") but inexplicably omits "I'm A Blues Man" & "Youre Ruining My Bad Reputation". Record companies love this trick so you're forced to buy the missing cuts elsewhere. Nevertheless the songs/music sound great but it's really not the "Greatest Hits". You should have the full albums anyway as no single disc collection could get it right. Too many goodies.

"Down Home Soul Of Z.Z. Hill" (Ace 1992 Kent 1995)

1. Baby I'm Sorry
2. I Need Someone (To Love Me)
3. Have Mercy Someone
4. Kind of Love I Want, The
5. Hey Little Girl
6. I Found Love
7. No More Doggin'
8. You Can't Hide a Heartache
9. That's It
10. Happiness Is All I Need
11. Everybody Has to Cry
12. Nothing Can Change This Love
13. Set Your Sights Higher
14. Steal Away
15. You're Gonna Need My Lovin'
16. You're Gonna Make Me Cry
17. Oh Darling
18. If I Could Do It All Over
19. You Don't Love Me
20. You Won't Hurt No More
21. What More
22. You Got What I Need

****1/2 Excellent 22-track collection of Hill's Kent material released in the mid-60s. His first single "You Were Wrong" snuck in at #100 on the pop chart but proved to be his only charter from this period. This is surprising as stunning R & B ballads like "I Need Someone", "You're Gonna Make Me Cry", "You Don't Love Me" and "Happiness Is All I Need" merited airplay and sales.

"Turn Back The Hands Of Time" (Tuff City 1992)

1. Ain't Too Proud to Beg
2. Turn Back the Hands of Time
3. My Girl
4. It Can Be Fixed
5. Nine Pound Steel
6. Don't Make Me Pay for His Mistakes
7. Mr Nobody's Somebody
8. Sweet Woman
9. One Way Love Affair
10. Think People
11. You Better Take Time
12. Five Will Get You Ten
13. Right to Love, The
14. You Were Wrong

*** Intriguing mix of rarities and out-of-print material. The sub-title reads "Rare and Previously Unreleased Recordings 1965-1972". It's currently the only place to get his smash version of "Don't Make Me Pay For His Mistakes" (#17 R & B) recorded for his brother's Hill imprint. There's also stylized versions of The Temptation's "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", "My Girl" and Tyrone Davis' "Turn Back The Hands Of Time". His aching versions of "Mr Nobody's Somebody" and "Nine Pound Steel" are two of the best. As far as the "unreleased" tracks the scratchy "Five Will Get You Ten" was obviously transferred from LP and the alternate "You Were Wrong" is even lower fidelity. The fluctuating sound quality is the Achilles heel of this collection but it's still a must for Z.Z. fans.

"Final Appearance" (Kent 1993)

1-I'M GONNA LOVE YOU
2-HEY LITTLE GIRL
3-SOMEONE TO LOVE ME
4-YOU DON'T LOVE ME
5-IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER
6-EVERYBODY HAS TO CRY
7-THAT'S IT
8-OH DARLING
9-HAVE MERCY SOMEONE
10-PLEASE TAKE ME BACK
11-I FOUND A LOVE
12-SET YOUR SIGHTS HIGHER

"The Complete Hill/UA Recordings 1972-1975" (Capital 1996)

DISC 1:
1. I've Got to Get You Back
2. You Were Wrong
3. Your Love Makes Me Feel Good
4. My Adorable One
5. Can I Get a Witness
6. Love in the Street
7. Your Love
8. Cause I Love You
9. Dream Don't Let Me Down
10. Friendship Only Goes So Far
11. Red Rooster, The
12. Ain't Nothing You Can Do
13. It Ain't Safe
14. Let Them Talk
15. Am I Groovin' You?
16. Snap Your Fingers

DISC 2:
1. Bad Mouth and Gossip
2. Clean up America
3. Country Love
4. Best I Ever Had, The
5. Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
6. You're Killing Me (Slowly But Surely)
7. Funny Face
8. I Created a Monster
9. That Ain't the Way You Make Love
10. Steppin' in the Shoes of a Fool
11. Two Sides to Every Story
12. I Keep on Loving You
13. Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)
14. Look What You've Done
15. My Turn
16. I Don't Need Half a Love

**** It's hard to find fault with a consummate collection like this- all three full LPs released during this period are included. And I don't. Had this been his 80s period this would be a treasure. Hits include "Ain't Nothing You Can Do" (#37 R & B), "I Don't Need Half Of Love" (#63 R & B), "Am I Groovin' You" (#84 R & B), "Let Them Talk" (#74 R & B) and "I Created A Monster" (#40 R & B). There's also the finest version of "You Were Wrong", which was his first hit back in 1964. The bubbling soul "Snap Your Fingers" should've been a hit. Same goes for the terrific "I've Got To Get You Back" & "Country Love". A single disc with the very best would be welcomed. Being that this set is out-of-print somebody should be licensing these tracks as I write.

"Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It" (Ichiban 1996)

1. Universal Love
2. This Time They Told the Truth
3. Stop by and Love Me Sometime
4. That's All That's Left
5. You Got Me Doing the Disco
6. Message to the Ladies, A
7. Let's Make a Deal
8. Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It
9. Need You by My Side
10. Near But Yet So Far
11. Let's Have a Party
12. I Wanna Dance With You
13. Just Because We're No Longer Lovers
14. I Want to Be Your Every Need
15. Whip It on Me Baby
16. I Don't Want Our Love to Be No Secret
17. I Will Understand
18. Tell It Like It Is

***1/2 18 Tracks extracted from Hill's two discofied Columbia LPs. Same as the two-fer "Let's Make A Deal (1978)/"The Mark Of Z.Z. Hill" (1979) only in different sequence and artwork.

"Faithful And True" (Blue Dog 1997)

1. Faithful And True
2. Put A Little Love In Your Heart
3. Early In The Morning
4. Touch 'Em With Love
5. Just As I Am
6. Hold Back (One Man At A Time)
7. I Think I'll Do It
8. Reprise #69

"This Time They Told The Truth: The Columbia Years" (Columbia 1998)

1. Universal Love
2. This Time They Told the Truth
3. Stop by and Love Me Sometime
4. Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It
5. Let's Make a Deal
6. I Don't Want Our Love to Be No Secret
7. I Want to Be Your Every Need
8. Message to the Ladies, A
9. Whip It on Me Baby
10. Just Because We're No Longer Lovers
11. Tell It Like It Is
12. That's All That's Left
13. Let's Have a Party

**** The best 13 (out of only 18) tracks taken from Hill's brief 1978-79 stay at Columbia. The hits "This Time They Told The Truth", "Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It" and shoulda been hits "A Message To The Ladies", "Stop By And Love Me", "Whip It On Me Baby". Fans of his soulful 60s to early 70s period or his 1980 down home blues revival might find trouble warming up to this material.

"Blues Business" (601 Music 1997)

1. Right Arm for Your Love
2. Please Don't Make Me (Do Something Bad to You)
3. Friday Is My Day
4. Get You Some Business
5. I'm a Blues Man
6. Outside Thang
7. Woman Don't Go Astray
8. You're Ruining My Bad Reputation
9. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing
10. She Got the Goods on Me

** Budget-priced collection of Malaco material 1980-1984. It's got "I'm A Blues Man" & "You're Ruining My Bad Reputation" make this a potential supplement to the incomplete "Greatest Hits" cd released seven years earlier.

"Am I Groovin' You?: Great R&B Hits" (Micro Werks 2009)

1. Am I Groovin' You
2. Ain't Nothing You Can Do
3. I Don't Need Half A Love
4. Let Them Talk
5. I Keep On Lovin' You
6. I Created A Monster
7. Can I Get A Witness
8. Dream Don't Let Me Down
9. Snap Your Fingers
10. Look What You've Done
11. I've Got To Get You Back
12. Your Love Makes Me Feel Good
13. Bad Mouth and Gossip
14. That Ain't The Way You Make Love

"The Brand New ZZ Hill Outtakes" (EMG 2015)

1 (Home Just Ain't Home At) Suppertime
2 Just as I Am
3 Touch 'Em with Love
4 Put a Little Love in Your Heart
5 It's a Hang up Baby

"That's It! The Complete Kent Recordings 1964-1968" (Kent 2018)

Disc: 1
1. You Don't Love Me
2. If I Could Do It All Over
3. Someone to Love Me
4. Have Mercy Someone
5. Hey Little Girl
6. Oh Darlin'
7. What More
8. That's It
9. Happiness Is All I Need
10. Everybody Has to Cry
11. No More Doggin'
12. The Kind of Love I Want
13. I Found Love
14. You Can't Hide a Heartache
15. Gimme Gimme
16. Greatest Love
17. Where She Att
18. Baby I'm Sorry
19. Everybody Needs Somebody
20. You Just Cheat and Lie
21. What Am I Living for
22. You're Gonna Need My Lovin'
23. Nothing Can Change the Love I Have for You
24. Steal Away
25. You Got What I Need
26. Don't Make Promises (You Can't Keep)
27. Set Your Sights Higher

Disc: 2
1. A Whole Lot of Soul
2. When Something Is Wrong with My Baby
3. What Am I Living for
4. Nothing Takes the Place of You
5. Knock on Wood
6. Steal Away
7. You Gonna Make Me Cry
8. You Send Me
9. Midnight Hour
10. When a Man Loves a Woman
11. Make Me Yours
12. Nothing Can Change the Love I Have for You
13. Greatest Love
14. You Won't Hurt No More
15. You've Got Me Chained to Your Love
16. I'm Gonna Love You
17. Please Take Me Back
18. My Girl Has Gone Away
19. I Need Someone (To Love Me) (With Strings)
20. You Don't Love Me (With Strings)
21. If I Could Do It All Over (With Strings)
22. You Won't Hurt No More (With Strings)
23. 22. Nothing Can Change This Love (I Have for You)

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