Died Birmingham, Alabama, 28 July 1995
If one had to compile a list of the most heart felt, spine chilling, testimonial songs ever recorded, "Get Off In It" by Eddie Hinton legendary Muscle Shoals musician and songwriter, would surely be in the running for top spot.
Edward Craig Hinton was born in 1944 in Jacksonville Florida. At the age of five Eddie's mother Mrs. Deanie Perkins divorced his father and moved to Tuscaloosa Alabama, raising Eddie alone.
Eddie attended the University of Alabama for 3 years before telling his mother that he knew what he wanted to do, and he didn't need a degree to play music. During the sixties Eddie fronted a band called 'The Minutes' (originally named 'The Five Minutes' until one member left), covering amongst others, material by Jimmy Reed,John Lee Hooker and Chuck Berry . It was while playing with 'The Minutes' in Nashville, that he met music publisher Paul Ballinger who he had known from his college days. Ballinger liked some of Eddie's songs and encouraged him to move to Sheffield Alabama to get some session work and write with his publishing partner and producer Marlin Greene . Eddie was 22, had been on the road for about a year and excited to get into the studio. He fell in well with the studio players and began session work at Fame Studios, and later at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
I once asked Eddie if he recalled the first sessions he can remember working on as a sideman. He told me it was a Ted Taylor session that had been arranged by producer Quinn Ivey for Atlantic Records.Some of the early sessions at Fame Studio's had been for Quinton Claunch and Doc Russell of the Memphis based label 'Goldwax', Eddie remembering a Lowell Fulsom session in particular.
During the period of the late sixties through to the mid seventies Eddie appeared on many of the great recordings being produced in Muscle Shoals. From soul legends Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and Joe Tex to artists as varied as Bozz Scaggs, Herbie Mann and The Staple Singers. He also struck up some great writing partnerships with Marlin Greene and Donnie Fritts. The Hinton/Fritts team being very fruitful creating hits such as 'Choo Choo Train' for the Box Tops and 'Breakfast In Bed' recorded by Dusty Springfield, which later became an International pop hit for UB 40. The list of recordings that Eddie has appeared on is too numerous to mention, suffice to say, if you wanted a crack session guitarist to do the job with feeling, and more than likely help with the arrangement, Eddie Hinton was that man!
Hinton also recorded his own work, with a bluesy soul voice that was styled on some of his own hero's , Otis Redding and Bobby Womack. A voice that once you have heard you never will forget. His solo career was beset with problems. 'Very Extremely Dangerous' his first album was released in 1978 on Capricorn Records, but Capricorn went bust taking the album with them. In the early eighties Eddie worked with fellow Muscle Shoals guitarist Jimmy Johnson on some new songs, but could not find a deal anywhere. A divorce from his wife Sandra and bouts of depression caused him to go underground and become very much a loner. It was his old University friend and producer/musician John Wyker who helped Eddie pick up the pieces and record six new songs that along with the Jimmy Johnson tracks became Eddie's second release 'Letters From Mississippi', an album that has and always will stand the test of time.Two further albums, Cry And Moan and Very Blue Highway followed, with a new recording about to be finished. I had visited Eddie this past April, and he was in good spirits , we listened to the new recordings which he was looking forward to getting out. I telephoned him at his Mother's house on July the 28th only to learn that less than an hour before my call, Eddie had died of heart failure. A quote from Eddie's mother Mrs Perkins follows; "He was just the kindest person, just a joy to be around. He just had a monkey on his back.But you know, he was kicking it.''
Edward Craig Hinton, singer, songwriter and