“This Old Town (People In This Town)” was another idealistic song that sounds somewhat dated today. Its theme was that there are no differences between people, and peace was on the way. This was in the middle of the Vietnam War with all its political unrest at home. It was a gentle song of harmony that ran counterpoint to the volume of anti-war material that was being produced at the time.
The album is strong from beginning to end. Tracks such as “This World,” “We Are People,” “”Who Do You Think You Are (Jesus Christ The Superstar)” and “I’m Just Another Soldier” are all representative of Southern soul (and its variations) at its best.
This reissue comes with two bonus tracks. “Walking In Water Over Our Head” has a thunderous bass line by David Hood and some string arrangements. Mavis’ vocals were an overdubbed composite, which is another unique event in the Stax catalogue. “Heavy Makes You Happy” is an unreleased alternate track recorded during 1970. The released version featured an electric piano as the lead instrument but here it is Hinton’s guitar. The vocals also have a live feel.
The sound has been remastered from the original tapes and has a clarity that has been missing from previous releases. As well, the included liner notes provide a nice history of the album.
Be Altitude is not just a relic of the early 1970s but one of the masterpieces from one of the most influential rhythm & blues of their time. An essential and exciting release.