HERMAN HITSON | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Recently a number of Chicago soul-record fanatics have founded reissue labels, bringing belated exposure to little-known regional acts of decades past, but John Ciba isn't stopping there. Since launching his Rabbit Factory imprint with last year's terrific compilation CD The Birmingham Sound: The Soul of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1, Ciba's helped get some of these rediscovered artists back onstage. Last week he put on an old-school soul revue in Brooklyn; today it arrives in Chicago. The lineup includes Roscoe Robinson and Ralph "Soul" Jackson, who also performed at the Birmingham Sound release show, Clarence Reid, who plays the Note later tonight as Blowfly, and a great Atlanta singer named Herman Hitson. I'd never heard of Hitson till I stumbled upon You Are Too Much for the Human Heart (Soul-Tay-Shus, 2005), a compilation of singles he cut between 1961 and '76. Unlike many soul artists he wrote much of his own material, which ranges from hard and raspy post-Otis Redding stompers to James Brown-inspired funk workouts. I don't know how his voice has held up, but at this intimate show presence will count as much as pipes. The bill, from the top: Reid, Robinson, Hitson, Jackson, and revivalists Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves. The True Loves share house-band duties with locals the Adam Fitz Band; Ciba, James Porter, Brian Poust, and Andy Dyson spin afterward. a 5 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $15.

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