Thursday, 15 December 2016

"In Philadelphia/Don't Knock My Love" by WILSON PICKETT (2016 Edsel CD Remasters Plus 17 Bonuses - Vol. 5 of 5)

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"...Fire And Water..." 

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 fifth and final '2on1' set issued 26 November 2016 in the UK (see full list below) deals with his ninth and tenth studio LPs from 1970 and 1971 and comes bolstered up with a huge seventeen Bonus Tracks on 2CDs.

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) – "In Philadelphia/Don't Knock My Love" by WILSON PICKETT on Edsel EDSK 7122 (Barcode 740155711238) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 2CDs plus Seventeen Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (63:52 minutes):
1. Run Joey Run
2. Help The Needy
3. Come Right Here
4. Bumble Bee (Sting Me)
5. Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You
6. Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number Nine [Side 2]
7. Days Go By
8. International Playboy
9. Ain’t No Doubt About It
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 9th studio album "Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia" - released September 1970 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8270 (Stereo Only) and April 1971 in the UK (with the same tracks) as "Engine No. 9" on Atlantic 2400 026 (Stereo Only).

10. International Playboy (Remix)
Track 10 is the A-side of Atlantic 45-2961 – a US 7" single from 1973
11. Pray For The Rain
12. Let It Come Naturally
Tracks 11 and 12 are from "Funky Midnight Mover: The Atlantic Studio Recordings (1962-1978)" released 2009 in the USA on Rhino Handmade RHM2 07753
13. Funky Broadway (Live In Ghana)
14. Land Of 1000 Dances (Live in Ghana)
Tracks 13 and 14 are from the Various Artists LP "Soul To Soul – Music from The Original Soundtrack Recorded Live In Ghana, West Africa" on Atlantic SD 7207
15. Un' Avventura
Track 15 is the A-side of a 1969 Italian-only 7" single on Atlantic ATL NP 03097
16. Heaven
17. Can't Stop A Man In Love
Tracks 16 and 17 are from "Funky Midnight Mover: The Atlantic Studio Recordings (1962-1978)" released 2009 in the USA on Rhino Handmade RHM2 07753
18. One Step Away
19. Funk Factory
Tracks 18 and 19 are the A&B-sides of a 1972 US 7” single on Atlantic 45-2878

Disc 2 (68:44 minutes):
1. Fire And Water
2. (Your Love Has Brought Me) A Mighty Long Way
3. Covering The Same Old Ground
4. Don't Knock My Love (Part 1)
5. Don't Knock My Love (Part 2)
6. Call My Name, I’ll Be There
7. Hot Love
8. Not Enough Love To Satisfy
9. You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover
10. Pledging My Love
11. Mama Told Me Not To Come
12. Woman Let Me Be Down Home
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 10th studio album "Don't Knock My Love" - released December 1971 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8300 and January 1972 in the UK on Atlantic K 40319.

13. Don't Knock My Love (Part 2) Single Version - 1972 US 7" single on Atlantic 45-2797, B-side
14. If You Need Me (Remake)
15. Don't Forget The Bridge
16. Rock Of Ages
17. Many Roads To Travel
18. Hope She'll Be Happier
19. Believe I'll Shout
Tracks 14 to 19 are from "Funky Midnight Mover: The Atlantic Studio Recordings (1962-1978)" released 2009 in the USA on Rhino Handmade RHM2 07753 - Track 15 mistaken credited as Atlantic 45-2909

Each of these five card digipaks comes in a gatefold with Volume 5 being the only double-disc issue. Like the four others it sports 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 1970 and 1971 - his Gamble & Huff project "In Philadelphia" with the second LP embracing Rock artists like Free and Randy Newman - the concert at Accra in Ghana that resulted in the "Soul To Soul" Soundtrack LP in 1972 (Atlantic SD 7207) – his progression to RCA Records and recording at Muscle Shoals and finally to Little Richard attending his funeral in 2006 paying homage in his sermon to one of the Soul greats. Mastered by PHIL KINRADE – the tracks are licensed from Warners and are therefore the US 1996 Rhino versions of old and those 2009 Rhino Handmade rarities – full and punchy Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch CD Remasters from original tapes.

The "Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia" LP (called "Engine No. 9" in the UK after the song became a hit) is dominated by two song writing forces – Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and a team of four other staff writers which included Bunny Sigler. Gamble & Huff threw three tunes into the ring – the opener "Run Joey Run", the two-parter single and hooky-as-Hell Bobby Eli guitar-fuzz of "Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number Nine" (a No. 3 R&B hit in October 1970 for Pickett on Atlantic 45-2765) and the final LP cut "Ain’t No Doubt About It" – a mid-tempo stroller with choppy keyboards and sweet brass accompaniment (could even have been another 45). Bunny Sigler had his hands in the melodrama of "Days Go By", the don’t worry baby pluck of "Come Right Here" (used as B-side to "International Playboy" in May 1973 on Atlantic 45-2961) and one the album’s genuine gems - "Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You" – co-written with John Bellmon, Reginald Turner and Jerry Akines who also contributed "Bumble Bee (Sting Me)". The LP peaked at a respectable No. 12 on the US R&B charts with Atlantic in fact taking advantage of the hits on it and pumping out "The Best Of Wilson Pickett, Vol. II" in May 1971 – rewarded with an even higher No. 8 placing (the last time Pickett would break the Top 10).

As you can imagine - the Bonus Tracks are a mixed bag of killer vs. throwaway. It’s not surprising that Atlantic returned to the catchy legend-in-my-own-time "International Playboy" song in 1973 with a remix where Wilson lists ladies in Rome and New Orleans all too willing to cook more than egg fu yung for the Wicked Alabama lad (one of the Bonus Tracks on CD1). It’s very cool to hear the band count-in "Pray For The Rain" (one of the 6CD Rhino Handmade outtakes) but the vocal never quite takes off – better is the six-minutes of "Heaven" – all strings and ‘reach out and touch me’ lyrics. Sung half in Italian and the rest in English "Un Avventura" is clearly dubbed off a disc and is a weird hybrid that’s interesting but not much else. "Can’t Stop A Man In Love" dates from 23 Feb 1972 and is excellent. But best is the non-album track "Funk Factory" that was paired with the ballad "One Step Away" on Atlantic 45-2878 – a No. 11 R&B hit in June 1972. "Funk Factory" is a truly great Pickett groove co-written by him with Brad Shapiro and Luther Dixon – ending Disc 1 on a bit of a high.

You would think with three singles off the "Don’t Knock My Love" LP – one of which was the huge title track and another US No. 1 R&B hit – that the album would have charted higher than No. 23 - but it didn’t - a sign of things to come. Like many of the smarter players of the day Wilson Pickett was quick to take on board Rock acts whose music had a swing and swagger suited to Soul - here he tackles Free by doing "Fire and Water" from their 1970 Island Records LP of the same name and Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" which had become a No. 1 rock hit for Three Dog Night. He then mixed these with Brad Shapiro songs like "Call My Name, I'll Be There", "Hot Love" and the huge title track - a co-write on Part 1 with WP. There's even a hint of Area Code 615 and Paul Butterfield in the harmonica-driven "(Your Love Has Brought Me) A Mighty Long Way" - a fantastic brassy groover that follows perfectly after "Fire And Water" (a Jack Avery, Earl Simms and Carlton McWilliams song itself covered by Bonnie Bramlett in 1975 on her "It’s Time" LP on Capricorn Records). This sexy little beast then segues into a set of strings that introduce the ballad "Covering The Same Old Ground" - a George Jackson song Atlantic used as the B-side to the November 1972 US single for "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)". The audio on this is gorgeous - full of warmth and even though the strings and girls threaten to drown the whole thing on occasion - Wilson howls his heart out and saves the day.

Edsel's decision to not separate the segue continues with the two-part title track which applies also to the lesser and ever so slightly hammy "Call My Name, I'll Be There". Another of the album's cool cuts is the fuzzed-up guitar of "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" - a song with a Stevie Wonder writing credit. The Johnny Ace standard "Pledging My Love" was the B-side to "Fire And Water" which made R&B No. 2 in January 1972 on Atlantic 45-2852. It ends on another B-side with the funky potential of being an A - "Woman Let Me Be Down Home" which Atlantic used as the flipside to "Call My Name, I’ll Be There" on Atlantic 45-2824 in August 1971. Wilson lists off his country-boy complaints – his woman constantly telling him what to do, say and wear (oh dear).

Collectors are going to love the sheer in-yer-face fuzzed-up funkiness of "Don’t Knock My Love, Pt. 2" in Mono (one of the Bonus Tracks) coming on like a mash-up between a James Brown/Chi-Lites/Sly Stone instrumental – what a Funky Winner! Of the 1971 and 1972 unreleased recordings – and even though the vocal is not quite right - I like the mellow cover of Bill Withers track "Hope She’ll Be Happier" where the highly-polished acoustic guitars and piano make it feel more Carole King "Tapestry" than "Don’t Knock My Love". And the Wilson-penned Jesus song "Rock Of Ages" (another Bonus) is akin to Aretha's passion on the landmark "Amazing Grace" double.

The original Rhino CDs have been deleted for years and the Rhino Handmade set hard to find and liable to make your bang manager nervous – so this pairing of Pickett’s lesser-heard career is a very welcome reissue indeed. From here he would go on to limited success with RCA...

"...Start It off!" - Pickett roars to the band as they kick in with the righteous-groove of "Believe I'll Shout" – a holy-roller funk work out with a driving organ backbeat.

Not everything on these two CDs is unmitigated genius by any stretch – but there are so many great moments like the above that I'm digging it big time. I suggest you dig in too and enjoy the illicit fruit of the wicked man's labours...

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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