Friday, 9 December 2016

"In The Midnight Hour/The Exciting Wilson Pickett" by WILSON PICKETT (2016 Edsel CD Remasters - Volume 1 of 5) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Land Of 1000 Dances..." 

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 first of five '2on1' sets issued 26 November 2016 in the UK (see full list below) deals with his debut and follow up LPs from 1965 and 1966 – supplementing those two incendiary platters with three relevant bonus tracks to the time period.

Across these five digipak-releases (three come with extras) - 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) – "In The Midnight Hour/The Exciting Wilson Pickett" by WILSON PICKETT on Edsel EDSA 3059 (Barcode 740155505936) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD with 3 Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (68:03 minutes):

1. In The Midnight Hour
2. Teardrops Will Fall
3. Take A Little Love
4. For Better Or Worse
5. I Found A Love
6. That's A Man's Way
7. I'm Gonna Cry [Side 2]
8. Don't Fight It
9. Take This Love I've Got
10. Come Home Baby
11. I'm Not Tired
12. Let's Kiss And Make Up
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut album "In The Midnight Hour" - released October 1965 in the USA on Atlantic 8144 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8144 (Stereo). It was issued December 1965 in the UK on Atlantic ATL 5037 in Mono only. The Mono mix is used on this CD – a Rhino Remaster.

13. Land Of 1000 Dances
14. Something You Got
15. 634-5789
16. Barefootin'
17. Mercy, Mercy
18. You're So Fine
In The Midnight Hour [Side 2] * See NOTES
19. Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do)
20. Danger Zone
21. I'm Drifting
22. It's All Over
23. She's So Good To Me
Tracks 13 to 13 (and Track 1) are his 2nd album "The Exciting Wilson Pickett" - released August 1966 in the USA on Atlantic 8129 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 9129 (Stereo). It was released September 1966 in the UK on Atlantic 587 029 (Mono) and 588 029 (Stereo). The Mono mix is used and is the 1995 Rhino Remaster.
NOTES: the song "In The Midnight Hour" was repeated on the second LP opening Side 2 of "The Exciting Wilson Pickett". If you want to sequence the US and UK LP proper – use Tracks 13 to 18 for Side 1 with Tracks 1 and 19 to 23 to make up Side 2.

24. Don't Fight It (Single Edit) – October 1965 US 7" single on Atlantic 45-2306, A-side
25. If You Need Me (Live)
26. I'm Gonna Cry (Live) – Tracks 25 and 26 from the 1965 US Various Artists LP "Saturday Night At The Uptown" on Atlantic 8101
Track 24 is Mono, Tracks 25 and 26 are Stereo

Each of these five card digipaks is a gatefold with Volume 1 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 1965 and 1966 where he notes 'Pickett couldn't put a foot wrong' and the string of No. 1 US R&B hits prove it. 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).

But the kicking music doesn't let anyone down. Mastered by PHIL KINRADE – the tracks are licensed from Warners and are therefore the 1995 Rhino Remasters of old – full and punchy Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch Remasters from original tapes.

His debut LP "In The Midnight Hour" is chock-full of singles and their equally cool flipsides. Winners include June 1965's classic floor-filler "In The Midnight Hour" b/w "I'm Not Tired" on Atlantic 45-2289 (his first R&B No. 1) – November 1965's "Don't Fight It" b/w "It's All Over" on Atlantic 45-2306 (R&B No. 4) and February 1966's "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)" b/w "That's A Man's Way" on Atlantic 45-2320 (his second R&B No. 1). Before that trio struck gold - Atlantic Records had tried "I'm Gonna Cry" b/w "For Better Or Worse" in June 1964 on Atlantic 45-2233 – following that in January 1965 with "Come Home Baby" b/w "Take A Little Love" on Atlantic 45-2271 – but neither took.

After "In The Midnight Hour" (the third single around the LP) slaughtered all in its path – Pickett's high octane strident Soul mirrored his nickname 'wicked' – and almost everything he released was met with excitement second only to Otis Redding and Solomon Burke – the two other great shouters on Atlantic's classy books. The huge bass and drum opening to "Ninety Nine And A Half (Won't Do)" led the assault for the second LP in early May 1966 - Atlantic 45-2334 stalling at No. 13 with the album cut "Danger Zone" as its B-side. Perhaps it was the slower slinky groove in "Ninety Nine..." that saw it not puncture the Top 10 - no such worries for the album's other monster "Land Of 1000 Dances". Released only weeks later in July 1966 and backed with his cover of the 1959 Falcons ballad "You're So Fine" - Atlantic 45-2348 quickly made mincemeat of the charts and raced to No. 1 - his third chart topper.

Part of a reissue like this is the undiscovered LP cuts that never get the attention they deserve - "It's All Over" was penned by Picket with his pal Steve Cropper - the guitarist in Booker T & The MG's. Everything about it rocks - the slow Soulful groove - the piano playing and Pickett's distinctive growl given full reign as he pleads with the listener to feel his pain. And not for the first time will he reach to Bobby Womack for a stone-cold killer like "She's So Good To Me" (he penned "Midnight Mover" on the next twofer). It's interesting also to note the subtle differences between the LP and edit of "Don't Fight It" - another great hooky brass-driving sanctifier. The "Come Home Baby" duet with Tami Lynn is a bit rough around the edges recording-wise - but its full of emotion and 60ts passion. Better is another Pickett/Cropper composition - the stroller "I'm Not Tired" - in the fact the man had his songwriting hand in 9 of the LPs 12 cuts.

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 - but I prefer the better presentation and the ever so slightly uplifted audio in evidence here.

And as I groove to Wilson Pickett's version of Chris Kenner's "Something You Got" - I'm glad to say that Edsel have done his huge set of vocal pipes justice. I'm off now to do the Watusi (Lord help me) and lay into the other four digipaks...get me wicked with Wilson Pickett. Dig in and enjoy...

Titles in the 26 Nov 2016 Edsel CD Reissue series for WILSON PICKETT

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 with 27 Bonus Tracks

Edsel EDSK 7113 - Barcode 740155711337)

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