Friday, 9 December 2016

"The Wicked Pickett/The Sound Of Wilson Pickett" by WILSON PICKETT (2016 Edsel CD Remasters, Vol. 2 of 5) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Mustang Sally..." 

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 second of five '2 on 1' sets issued 26 November 2016 in the UK (see full list below) deals with his third and fourth LPs from the tail-ends of 1967 (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) – "The Wicked Pickett/The Sound Of Wilson Pickett" by WILSON PICKETT on Edsel EDSA 3060 (Barcode 740155506032) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD (no bonus tracks) and plays out as follows (61:11 minutes):

1. Mustang Sally
2. New Orleans
3. Sunny
4. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
5. Ooh Poo Pah Doo
6. She Ain't Gonna Do Right
7. Knock On Wood [Side 2]
8. Time Is On My Side
9. Up Tight Good Woman
10. You Left The Water Running
11. Three Time Loser
12. Nothing You Can Do
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 3rd album "The Wicked Pickett" - released January 1967 in the USA on Atlantic 8138 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8138 (Stereo). It was released February 1967 in the UK on Atlantic 587 057 (Mono) and 588 057 (Stereo). The MONO mix is used.

13. Soul Dance Number Three
14. Funky Broadway
15. I Need A Lot Of Loving Every Day
16. I Found A Love, Part I
17. I Found A Love, Part II
18. You Can't Stand Alone
19. Mojo Mamma [Side 2]
20. I Found The One
21. Something Within Me
22. I'm Sorry About That
23. Love Is A Beautiful Thing
Tracks 13 to 23 are his 4th album "The Sound Of Wilson Pickett" - released August 1967 in the USA on Atlantic 8145 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8145 (Stereo) and in the UK on Atlantic 587 080 (Mono) and 588 080 (Stereo). The Stereo mix is used.

Each of these five card digipaks is a gatefold with Volume 2 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. 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.

But like Volume 1 covering 1965 and 1966 - the kicking music on offer here doesn't let anyone down. 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 Remasters from original tapes.

How can you not think of the 1991 film "The Commitments" every time you hear the stunning "Mustang Sally" – a 1965 signifying-dancer that just wants to ride sally ride ("Three Time Loser" was the flipside). Even now it's hard to understand why it didn't give him his fourth US R&B No. 1 – instead peaking at No. 6 on Atlantic 45-2365 in December 1966. At least it received the Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in 2000. The album followed on from the winning single in January 1967 and the hey-hey-hey shimmy-shimmy beat of MS continues with the fantastic "New Orleans". Atlantic then tried the Solomon Burke smoocher "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" b/w "Nothing You Can Do" as his next 7” single - Atlantic 45-2381 making a respectable No. 19 in February 1967. Secret weapons for the LP came in the shape of songwriter DAN PENN who along with Fame Studio's Rick Hall and others penned "She Ain't Gonna Do It Right", "Up Tight Good Woman" and "You Left The Water Running" – the kind of brass/organ driven Southern Soul that sends so many collectors into frenzies of arm-hugging – especially on the Northern Soul circuits.

Album No. 2 opens with a total winner – the shing-a-ling with your miniskirts of "Soul Dance Number Three". Gerry Wexler wrote this wicked irresistible groove providing Pickett with a No. 10 on the R&B charts in July 1967 (Atlantic 45-2412) while its equally cool flipside "You Can't Stand Alone" charted at No. 26 on its own merit. The label had tried the two-parts of "I Found A Love" on Atlantic 45-2394 - and despite saturation Wilson Pickett product it too peaked high - No. 6 in April 1967. Consolidating his by now superstar-status - "Funky Broadway" did the magic again in August 1967 when Atlantic 45-2430 went to No. 1 R&B (his fourth in two years).

Part of a reissue like this is the undiscovered LP cuts that never get the attention they deserve - in the case of the forgotten album "The Sound Of..." it's three from the fabulous pen of Bobby Womack. Womack was a writer and singer with a similar growl and gravel voice - but more than that he seemed tailor-made for Pickett's song needs. Womack contributed a trio of genuine Soul gems - the majestic torch-ballad "I Found The One"  followed quickly by another slow and Bluesy tune "Something Within Me" (check out that Chips Moman lead guitar) and finally the 'I done you wrong' song "I'm Sorry About That".

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 in truth - even though there are no bonus tracks - both of these albums are killer enough for any man.

"...This love's got a hold on me...Lord have mercy..." - Pickett sings on the wonderful "Something Within Me". Amen to that baby. Dig in and enjoy...

Titles in the 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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