The Mighty Hannibal
By Dylan Morrow
West Coast soulster the Mighty Hannibal aka James T. Shaw is a master songwriter and fine vocalist. He is also a great storyteller as exemplified both by his lyrics and in the liner notes accompanying this 28 song collection (there is a nice story about Ray Charles the pilot in here). Apparently this man has made some interesting career moves (for example as a “Master Advisor and Maintainer of Women’s Affairs”) and seen some bad times as attested to in the gospel/funk of “The Truth Shall Make You Free” (containing the line “drugs is just a new name for slavery”). In this instance hard times and heroin made for some interesting music. This collection contains tracks ranging stylistically from 1950’s r&b clatter “Big Chief Hug-Um an’ Kiss-Um” and “My Name is Hannibal” to the deep mournful 70’s soul of the deceptively titled “Party Life”. There is something for the kids with ” Motha !
Goose Breaks Loose” and plenty of jerkin’, shaking and contemplating too. This collection includes one of his best known tunes- the deepest saddest blues soul of all time “Hymn #5” – arguably one of the best pieces of Vietnam-inspired music ever. This collection also documents some promotional material, labels and cool shots of our turban-wearing hero.