Leroy Hutson

Leroy Hutson (born June 4, 1945) is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and producer from Newark, N.J., who emerged as the third frontman of Chicago soulsters The Impressions, which he joined in 1971 as Curtis Mayfield‘s replacement. As a solo artist, Hutson released seven albums on Mayfield’s Curtom label between 1973 and 1979, followed by an eighth on Elektra in 1982.


Hutson was born on June 4, 1945, in Newark, New Jersey. In high school, he formed a doo-wop quartet, The Nu-Tones, which won several talent contests. (Not to be confused with the namesake acts on Mark, Dart, and Amon.)

He attended Howard University in Washington DC, initially majoring in dentistry. His roommate, Donny Hathaway, left college early to serve as the musical director for The Impressions. This prompted Hutson to change his college major to music theory and composition. While still enrolled, he joined The Mayfields, which performed at New York’s Apollo Theater and Philadelphia’s Uptown Theater. They issued one single, “I’ve Been Trying” (b/w “If”), in 1966 on Mayfield Records, written and produced by Curtis Mayfield.

In 1968, Hutson teamed with singer Debbie Rolands in the duo Sugar & Spice. Signed to MCU/Uni-subsidiary Kapp Records, they issued the 1968/69 singles “Dreams” (b/w “Ah Ha Yeah”) and “In Love Forever” (b/w “Let the Whole World Know”). Also that year, Hutson arranged the b-side “Sentimental Man” by label-mates The Unifics, a Hathaway-associated act.

During 1969, Hutson and Hathaway co-wrote and arranged sides for The Indigos (“Love You (Je Vous Aime Oui Je Fais)”), Nolan Chance (“I’ll Never Forget You”), Roberta Flack (“Tryin’ Times”), and Hathaway’s two-part single “The Ghetto” (included on his 1970 debut album Everything Is Everything). They also collaborated on “You’ll Never Be True” for the 1969 album Love Is by singer Lovelace Watkins, which also features “Je Vous Aime” and the Mayfield co-write “Gone Away” (later covered by Flack).

Subsequent Hutson/Hathaway co-writes include 1970/71 sides for Carla Thomas (“Never Be True”), Duponts (“If You Do Love Me”), and Juliane (“I Love You”).

In 1971, Hutson sang backing vocals on Mayfield’s second solo album, Roots. That year, Mayfield assigned Hutson as his own replacement in The Impressions. Hutson sang on their 1972 release Times Have Changed, written and produced by Mayfield. He stayed for two years, then signed to Mayfield’s Curtom label as a solo artist.


Discography:

  • Love Oh Love (1973)
  • The Man! (1974)
  • Hutson (1975)
  • Feel the Spirit (1976)
  • Hutson II (1976)
  • Closer to the Source (1977)
  • Unforgettable (1979)
  • Paradise (1982)

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