Jerry Butler, The Ice Man

Ed Ward

By Ed Ward

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Ice Man

Jerry Butler
Along with Sam Cooke, the Ice Man helped invent soul music.

The Impressions had kind of a rocky time at Vee-Jay, in part because the label insisted on billing them as Jerry Butler and the Impressions, which the rest of the group resented, since they felt that they — and particularly their guitarist Curtis Mayfield — were integral to the group's sound and success. Their first record, "For Your Precious Love," shows why: although Butler's proto-soul vocal style made them unique, they were, in fact, a team, and although it was a pop and R&B smash, it wasn't long until Vee-Jay spun Butler off as a solo act, which caused the Impressions to break up. Mayfield stayed on as his guitarist for a while, but the group soon reformed for ABC Records. Meanwhile, Butler can share credit with another Chicagoan, Sam Cooke, for helping invent soul, as the tracks here clearly show. Anybody who can make you listen to "Moon River" and enjoy it clearly has something going on, after all, and Butler remained a mainstay of Vee-Jay until the end.