Friday, 9 December 2016

"I'm In Love/The Midnight Mover" by WILSON PICKETT (2016 Edsel CD Remasters - Vol. 3 of 5) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Midnight Mover..."

England's Edsel Records are no strangers to Soul-reissues. Across the decades they've touched on major retrospectives for Philadelphia International (O'Jays, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes), Holland-Dozier-Holland's HDH Label and Invictus Records (Chairmen Of The Board, Freda Payne and The Glass House) as well as anthologies for Ann Peebles, The Chi-Lites and Al Green covering their Hi Records label output.

For 2016 - our Demon Group heroes are tackling the whole of Wilson Pickett's ten-album stay between 1964 and 1972 at the legendary Atlantic Records. This third of five '2on1' sets issued 26 November 2016 in the UK (see full list below) deals with his fifth and sixth LPs from the tail ends of 1968 (no bonus tracks).

Across these five digipak-releases (three come with extras – the 1st, 4th and 5th) - you also get exclusive single mixes and many unreleased tracks formerly only available on 2009's "Funky Midnight Mover..." – a 6CD mail-order set from Rhino Handmade – an item that is now long deleted and extremely pricey into the bargain. The booklets also feature new liner notes from noted Soul writer and uber-fan Tony Rounce.

Here are the details for Alabama's finest Midnight Mover...

UK released 26 November 2016 (2 December 2016 in the USA) – "I'm In Love/The Midnight Mover" by WILSON PICKETT on Edsel EDSA 3061 (Barcode 740155506131) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD (no bonus tracks) and plays out as follows (53:10 minutes):

1. Jealous Love
2. Stagger Lee
3. That Kind Of Love
4. I'm In Love
5. Hello Sunshine
6. Don't Cry No More [Side 2]
7. We've Got To Have Love
8. Bring It On Home To Me
9. She's Lookin' Good
10. I've Come A Long Way
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 5th studio album "I'm In Love" - released February 1968 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8175 (Stereo Only) and April 1968 in the UK on Atlantic 587 107 (Mono) and 588 107 (Stereo). The Stereo mix is used.

11. I'm A Midnight Mover
12. It's A Groove
13. Remember, I Been Good To You
14. I'm Gonna Cry
15. Deborah
16. I Found A True Love [Side 2]
17. Down By The Sea
18. Trust Me
19. Let's Get An Understanding
20. For Better Or Worse
Tracks 11 to 20 are his sixth studio album "The Midnight Mover" - released July 1968 in the USA on Atlantic 8183 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8183 (Stereo) and September 1968 in the UK on Atlantic 587 111 (Mono) and 588 111 (Stereo). The Stereo mix is used.

Each of these five card digipaks is a gatefold with Volume 3 sporting a comprehensive 16-page booklet in the left flap with new liner notes from legendary Soul writer TONY ROUNCE – a man whose name has graced literally hundreds of quality CD reissues. He goes into all the chart statistics for late 1966 into 1967 where Pickett was coming off a run of three US R&B No. 1 singles and couldn't put a foot wrong. They even reproduce Jon Landau and Wendall John's original liner notes for both LPs - but I'd have to say though that the inner flap and the space beneath the see-through CD tray being 'blank' and the nondescript colouring of the CD itself let the visual side down somewhat (could have been filled out with pictures and black/red label memorabilia) and the lack of bonus cuts may irk some buyers (don't let that put you off).

But like Volumes 1 and 2 covering his first four albums - the kicking music on offer here doesn't let anyone down - it really doesn't. If anything I feel that both LPs are sort of lost Soul nuggets - overshadowed by the more hit-laden earlier LPs. Mastered by PHIL KINRADE – the tracks are licensed from Warners and are therefore the 1995 Rhino versions of old – full and punchy Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch CD Remasters from original tapes.

Pickett has scored his fourth No. 1 R&B single in August 1967 with the brilliant "Funky Broadway" – so come December 1967 (two months before the album arrived in February 1968) – his American public was hungry for more. And man did they get a winner in the song "I'm In Love". As I’ve said on the first two issues in this Edsel CD series – one of Wilson Pickett's secret weapons was the songwriting talent of BOBBY WOMACK – a stunning writer with an almost identikit voice. Womack not only penned the funky opener "Jealous Love" and the equally Soulful 'looky-here' bopper "We've Got To Have Love" (a co-write with Pickett) - he also put up two utterly gorgeous ballads for the LP - the sensual closer "I've Come A Long Way" and the LP's title track - "I'm In Love".

Atlantic must have known the second they heard "I'm In Love" that they should lead off the LP's assault on the charts with a slow love song instead of the usual dancer. "I'm In Love" proved them right - peaking at No. 4 in December 1967 on Atlantic 45-2448. In fact its Lloyd Price cover version flipside "Stag-O-Lee" even had a chart shelf life of its own - hitting No. 13 all by itself. When the LP did hit records stores in February - Atlantic unwisely tried "Jealous Love" as the next single in the same month - but its good-rather-than-great groove peaked at No. 18 (Atlantic 45-2484 with "I've Come A Long Way" as its B-side). Far better is the stunning and sexy Boogaloo of "She's Looking Good" which made No. 7 in April 1968 (Atlantic 45-2504) - a slice of Blue Brothers 60ts Funky Soul - the kind of hooky dancer that would raise the dead (and they'd be glad of it). Although it's very hissy (like so many of the recordings) - Bobby Womack's "I've Come A Long Way" is my kind of Southern Soul joy - a truly beautiful ballad and surely one of the highlights in two very strong LP sets.

LP number two opens with a barnstormer - "I'm A Midnight Mover" - another dancer from Womack and Pickett. Released June 1968 ahead of the LP - Atlantic 45-2528 peaked at a very healthy No. 6 (the album cut "Deborah" was its flipside). Womack also contributed the slow and 'way down low' "It's A Groove" - a co-write with his wife Linda. There's a Sam Cooke warmth to "Remember, I Been Good To You" where our Wilson worries that his lady has done found herself someone else. "I'm Gonna Cry" is a co-write with another Soul Hero - Don Covay. In October 1968 Atlantic tried the warbling guitar and brass Funk of "I Found A True Love" as the next single - a great little dancer - Atlantic 45-2558 made No. 11 on the US R&B charts (the album cut "For Better Or Worse" was the B-side). Pickett's own "Down By The Sea" is the kind of Soulful groove Gary U.S. Bonds would have chewed in the 80ts when he was collaborating with Bruce Springsteen on the "Dedication" and "On The Line" LPs. Even prettier is Bobby Womack's "Trust Me" - the kind of mid-tempo torch-ballad that allowed Wilson to show off those 'older the grape...sweeter the wine' set of pipes. The final track "For Better Or Worse" sounds like Mono as he growls through that too...

There are other ways to get this music I know (and cheaper). I reviewed the August 2010 "Original Album Series" 5CD Mini Box Set for instance which is available for a ten spot (it has only "I'm In Love") - but I prefer the better presentation and the ever so slightly uplifted audio in evidence here. And in truth - even though there are no bonus tracks - both of these albums are killer enough for any man.

"...Y'all feelin' good right now..." - Pickett roars on the chugging "Let's Get An Understanding" before his band wigs out on a Psychedelic Soul groove. Amen to that baby. Dig in and enjoy...

Titles in this 26 Nov 2016 Edsel CD Reissue Series for WILSON PICKETT are:

1. In The Midnight Hour/The Exciting Midnight Mover
(1966 and 1967 Stereo 1st and 2nd LPs plus Three Bonus Tracks
Edsel EDSA 3059 - Barcode 740155505936)

2. The Wicked Pickett/The Sound Of Wilson Pickett
(1966 and 1967 Stereo/Mono 3rd and 4th LPs – no bonus tracks
Edsel EDSA 3060 - Barcode 740155506032)

3. I’m In Love/The Midnight Mover
(1968 for both his 5th and 6th LPs – no bonus tracks
Edsel EDSA 3061 - Barcode 740155506131)

4. Hey Jude/Right On
(1969 and 1970 Stereo 7th & 8th LPs with Three Bonus Tracks
Edsel EDSA 3062 - Barcode 740155506230)

5. In Philadelphia/Don’t Knock My Love
(1970 and 1972 9th & 10th Stereo LPs with Seventeen Bonus Tracks
Edsel EDSK 7112 - Barcode 740155711238)

Edsel have also touched on PERCY SLEDGE in this series and his stay at Atlantic Records (three digipak CD reissues):

1. When A Man Loves A Woman/Warm & Tender Soul
(1966 and 1967 Stereo 1st & 2nd LPs plus Four Bonus Tracks
Edsel EDSA 3063 - Barcode 740155506339)

2. The Percy Sledge Way/Take Time To Know Her
(1967 and 1968 Stereo 3rd & 4th LPs with Eight Bonus Tracks
Edsel EDSK 7116 - Barcode 740155711634)

3. My Special Prayer/Singles And Rarities
(1970 fifth and final Atlantic LP - along with a compilation of 27 Bonus Tracks

Edsel EDSK 7113 - Barcode 740155711337)

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