by Joe Viglione
Produced by Jerry Ross and arranged by Joe Renzetti, "Sunny" emerged from a twelve-song disc released on the Phillips label, a division of Mercury records. Although Bobby Hebb is known as "the song a day man," he only composed three of the dozen titles included on this collection. The title track, of course, which was the song of the summer of 1966, "Yes or No or Maybe Not," and "Crazy Baby." The follow-up, "A Satisfied Mind," was also a Top 40 hit that year, but it wasn't until 1971, when Lou Rawls had a Top 20 hit with "Natural Man," did Hebb get another smash. A pity, and a definite statement about the music industry when a man as prolific and talented as Robert Von Hebb constructs and delivers pop tunes with a voice and feeling that crosses genres and ethnic boundaries. Kal Rudman himself penned the liner notes on the back of the disc (at the time he was R&B Editor of Record World Magazine, a publication still missed by the industry). Rudman reports that "Sunny" hit number one in Detroit and the surrounding area on the R&B, pop, and country & western charts. A monster smash, with covers by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra with Duke Ellington, Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy, there is no doubt this is Hebb's signature tune, but according to Marty Balin of The Jefferson Airplane he has "a pocketful of Miracles," implying the author/singer who gave us "Sunny" has mountains of songs that the world needs to hear. The producer/arranger team of Ross/Renzetti also penned "Bread," the flip side of the first 45, and "Love Love Love" on this album. Ross and Gamble co-authored "You Don't Know What You've Got Until You Lose It," McCoy's "For You," and there's even Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil's "Good Good Lovin'." All in all, this is a very pleasant pop album that remains an important snapshot of an important artist at the peak of his powers. As Rudman notes in the liners, Hebb was hired by Roy Acuff at the age of 12 to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Hearing this album again makes one wonder why it isn't mandatory for major labels to sign artists of Bobby Hebb's stature for a minimum of 200 albums.