Originally released by Capitol in 1994 as a limited edition 2-CD set, this 52-track collection is now rescued from the high-prices of the secondary market with an affordable MP3 reissue. Minit Records was established in the early â€˜60s in New Orleans by Joe Banashak, and distributed by Imperial. Minit was acquired by Imperial in 1963, but many of the labelâ€™s key sides and all of its biggest chart hits, starting with Jessie Hillâ€™s â€œOoh Poo Pah Doo, Part 2â€ and peaking with Ernie K-Doeâ€™s chart-topping â€œMother-in-Law,â€ came before the acquisition, and more importantly, before the departure of the labelâ€™s key asset: Allen Toussaint.
Toussaint had made a name for himself in New Orleans music circles as a teenager, and in a fortuitous reassignment of duties at Minit he started scouting new acts and then writing, producing and playing on their records. He infused each production with an irresistible dollop of New Orleans soul that made his records stand out from those produced on the coasts or in hot-spots like Chicago or Memphis. Toussaint is responsible for some of the labels greatest sides, including Benny Spellmanâ€™s â€œLipstick Traces (On a Cigarette),â€ and its oft-covered flip, â€œFortune Teller,â€ Aaron Nevilleâ€™s â€œOver You,â€ Irma Thomasâ€™ â€œRuler of My Heartâ€ and Ernie K-Doeâ€™s â€œMother-in-Law.â€
Following Toussaintâ€™s departure, the label continued to produce interesting records throughout the 1960s, as showcased on the second disc of this set. The label turned from the New Orleans style of its early singles to soul sounds influenced by Stax (especially its post-Atlantic work), Muscle Shoals and Motown. The results werenâ€™t often as unique, but several singles scored on the R&B chart, and a few crossed over to pop success. Here youâ€™ll find Ike & Tina Turnerâ€™s horn-driven soul cover of â€œI Wish it Would Rain,â€ electric boogaloo â€œI Wanna Jump,â€ and a gritty take on â€œCome Together,â€ Bobby Womackâ€™s minor hit cover of â€œCalifornia Dreaminâ€™,â€ Clydie Kingâ€™s exuberant â€œIâ€™ll Never Stop Loving Youâ€ and pre-Philly sides by the Oâ€™Jays.
Capitolâ€™s digital download edition omits Chris Kennerâ€™s â€œI Like it Like That, Part 1â€ (which can be found here), as well as the detailed liner notes that accompanied the CD set, but thereâ€™s a lot of great music here, particularly on disc one, at a good price. All selections in this set are mono except for stereo on disc one track 3, 6 and 7 and most of disc two. If your interest is limited to the labelâ€™s earlier Allen Toussaint sides, check out the single disc Finger Poppinâ€™ and Stompinâ€™ Feet; for the post-Toussaint releases only, find a copy of The Soul of Minit Records. [Â©2011 hyperbolium dot com]