Personnel: Rudy Robinson, Aaron Willis, Jr., Sam Witcher, Eddie Willis, Rod "Peanut" Chandler, Curtis Sharp.
Recorded in 1973.
Personnel: Little Sonny (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Eddie Willis, Aaron G. Willis, Jr., Sam Witcher (guitar); Rudy Robinson (keyboards); Curtis Sharp (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Audio Remixers: Arris Wheaton; Pete Bishop.
Liner Note Author: Rob Bowman.
Recording information: Pac-3 Recording Studio, Detroit, MI; Stax Records, Memphis.
Photographers: Frederick Toma; Maldwin Hamlin.
Because he hasn't promoted himself aggressively enough, Little Sonny isn't nearly as well known in either blues or R&B circles as he should be. But make no mistake, Sonny is a first-class electric bluesman who's also a pearl of a soul singer. And he excels in both areas on Hard Goin' Up, which Fantasy reissued on CD in the U.S. in 1997. "You Made Me Strong," "It's Hard Going Up (But Twice as Hard Coming Down)" and "You Can Be Replaced" illustrate his mastery of the 12-bar form, while "You're Spreading Yourself a Little Too Thin" and "Do It Right Now" are invigorating examples of the type of horn-driven, sock-it-to-'em soul music Sonny embraced with such conviction. The punchy "My Woman Is Good to Me" was a minor hit, and Hard made it to #42 on Billboard's R&B albums chart. It's possible that had it not been for the problems Stax was having with CBS at the time, the album would have enjoyed a lot more exposure. At any rate, Hard Goin' Up is one of Sonny's finest accomplishments. ~ Alex Henderson