THIS BLOG IS ABOUT 7" RECORDS ONLY. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY. EVERY SONG IS CONVERTED TO MP3 FROM MY PERSONAL 45 COLLECTION, AND THERE'S NOT ONE THAT I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND YOU SEEKING OUT. ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDERS WHO DON'T WANT THEIR MUSIC HEARD HERE JUST LET ME KNOW, AND DOWN IT WILL COME. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE.
Listen: 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years Of Love) / The Presidents 5-10-15-20
Given I’d previously owned only Dennis Coffey and Bill Withers records on Sussex, I assumed the best when this came along. Turns out it’s a one listen song, simple.
Seemed like no time passed before the record was literally all over the air. You almost couldn’t escape it. Logically both the Top 40′s and the RnB locals were playing it, but so too were the college stations. Everyone loved it, hands down. For me, just knowing a Sussex single was spinning on some 16″ industrial Gates radio station turntable made it sound that much better.
Within a few years though, producer Van McCoy got tarnished with the disco curse, simply for having too big of a hit, ‘The Hustle’. But truth be told, the fellow wrote some perfect songs: ‘Baby I’m Yours’ for Barbara Lewis, ‘Getting Mighty Crowded’ by Betty Everett, ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Love You’, the Northern Soul holy grail recorded by Sandi Sheldon and ‘I Get the Sweetest Feeling’ for Jackie Wilson.
Discovered by Mahalia Jackson at age 11, then seeing Bessie Smith at the New Orleans Palace Theatre one year later in ’36 sent her on a path full of so many accomplishments. Read MOTHERIN’ THE BLUES: LINDA HOPKINS – THE CONTINUING LEGACY OF THE BLUES WOMAN. Wow, I was riveted.
In the early 60′s, she cut several sides with Jackie Wilson for Brunswick, which lead to some solo singles of her own for the label as well.
Although ‘Little By Little’ preceded swampier soul by a few years, it still retains a traditional manic juke jump chaos. Her full voice overpowers any of the tracks lack of swing, and miraculously, that perfectly recorded snare drum gets some nice loud spikes in the mix.
It’s strange how time has diminished the apparent power and originality once associated with Jackie Wilson.
Read Doug Carter’s THE BLACK ELVIS: JACKIE WILSON. You won’t be able to put it down, nor will you understand why he didn’t reach legendary status like those who credited him with their inspiration: Michael Jackson, James Brown and Elvis Presley for starters.
On stage, his knee drops, splits, spins, one footed across-the-floor slides became the blueprint from which they, and many others, lifted, crowning him Mr. Excitement. As a result of the book, I found myself trolling through a surprisingly large section of about thirty Jackie Wilson singles, involuntarily amassed through the years, sure that one day, I’d need them. Well that day arrived even before the book’s halfway mark. Didn’t take much to pull out and spin the pristine pressing, on original orange labelled Brunswick, of ‘Baby Workout’, a huge record in ’63 (#5 Pop). Workout being the giveaway word, this title held great potential. No let down there.
House producer Dick Jacobs, ann under appreciated band leader and executive, took responsibility for A&Ring many of Jackie Wilson’s records during the period. His clean, safe backing vocals and big orchestral arrangements, often dismissed and unfairly overlooked, actually helped to bring out the grit in both Jackie Wilson’s voice and songwriting. According to many, the combination of these two talents led to some of the earliest soul recordings, many becoming mainstream hits, like ‘Baby Workout’.
The post Dick Jacobs era resulted in Carl Davis being tasked the Jackie Wilson production responsibilities. One of their first works together, ‘Soul Galore’, got no traction upon release, somehow failing to pick up much airplay, even on the RnB stations. But by the early 70′s, it qualified as one of Jackie Wilson’s biggest Northern Soul successes, thereby being reissued, via the pressing pictured above.
Luckily, a very typical trait of Carl Davis’ was to consistently incorporate pumped up, brass arrangements into swinging soul songs, thereby helping give Jackie Wilson one of his biggest and ultimately final mainstream hits with ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ a year or so later in ’67.
This version of ‘Stand By Me’ is the one way too many people overlooked or more likely, sadly never heard – despite it being a big US hit (#3 Pop, #12 RnB) in ’67. The accompanying album is great too. If you stumble on a copy, buy it.
Credit to Sirius Radio. I caught this one while listening during a recent JetBlue flight. I don’t recall the station’s name, maybe The Joint or something like that.
A possible blame for his short career may indeed be MGM Records. They just didn’t have the roster, and therefore the leverage, when it came to RnB. A+ for trying though.
Listen through until the end – he does some killer vocal impersonations. The Billy Stewart take is spot on and Jackie Wilson’s is priceless. They’re all pretty sweet.