Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No. 235: Mr. Excitement!

Band: Jackie Wilson
Album: Mr. Excitement!
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Jackie Wilson is in the class of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding as far as R&B singers go, but it largely forgotten because his popularity came just before the other two. Honey-voiced and sweet, he was the love and wonder-type soul singer.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I don't know many of his songs, but he's perfectly pleasant.
Best song: "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher" and "(I Can Feel Those Vibrations) This Love Is Real" are pretty great.
Worst song: "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" is not so good.
Is it awesome?: It's great, but it's an easier-listening Sam Cooke record.

Jackie Wilson's fame was mostly short as he was one of the trailblazers of R&B music. At point, his voice sounds soulful and real, but at points his voice gets a little annoying. I've heard his version of "My Way" (not on this set) and it sounds like the way Eddie Murphy talks when he's imitating a white guy.

Now... I understand that Wilson was probably trying to emulate the white singers of his day, but it still sounds a little strange.


According to our good friend Wikipedia, Wilson, well, let's just quote it:

Wilson suffered a massive heart attack while playing a Dick Clark show at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on September 29, 1975, falling head-first to the stage; he was singing "Lonely Teardrops". The blow to the head Wilson suffered left him comatose. For the next eight years and four months he was in a vegetative state until his death at age 49.



I hate to be that guy -- again, I worry that it paints me as racist -- but I can't see how Wilson is anywhere near the singer that Otis Redding was. i guess it makes sense that this set is so low as compared to Redding's work; Wilson was Redding's precursor, but he wasn't Redding's equal.

Also, Jackie Wilson converted to Judaism as an adult. That's, um, cool? Maybe?


Overall, it's great set, if you can find it. The first disc has some of Wilson's work with the famous soul group The Dominoes and their version of "Stormy Weather" is amazing. The set is long out of print, with copies going on Amazon Marketplace for $185(!) and no copies on eBay. Crazy.

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