Rhino Has Pickett Covered
C. Fields | 08/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are several Wilson Pickett compilations available which offer up his greatest hits, but Rhino seems to have covered his career six ways to the wind. In addition to this package they also have a 2-CD set with 44 tracks entitled A Man And A Half: The Best Of Wilson Pickett, and two other single-disc sets with 12 tracks each with the titles Exciting Wilson Pickett and Essentials.
This compilation, complete with informative liner notes and excellent AAD sound reproduction, present 16 of his best singles from among the 49 he put onto the R&B charts from 1963 to 1987, 38 of which crossed over to the Billboard Pop Hot 100 from 1963 to 1973. And, for the most part, they are the top 16 in terms of overall chart performance.
The lone exception is a song that was based upon a traditonal folk song called Stack-O-Lee, first brought to prominence in 1959 by Lloyd Price who's version went to # 1 Billboard Hot 100 AND R&B as Stagger Lee [in 1971 Tommy Roe had a # 25 Hot 100 with the same tune under the same title]. Wilson's rendition, titled Stag-O-Lee, made it to # 13 R&B and # 22 Hot 100 in December 1967.
Following three minor hits for Double L in 1963, the best of which was the Chuck Willis composition It's Too Late [# 7 R&B/# 49 Hot 100 that September], he made his hit debut with Atlantic in 1965 when In The Midnight Hour reached # 1 R&B and # 21 Hot 100 in August, follow by Don't Fight It - not included here - which topped out at # 4 R&B/# 53 Hot 100 in December. He then hit it big with a re-working of the 1962 Marvelettes' hit Beechwood 4-5789, taking 634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.) to # 1 R&B (where it remained for SEVEN weeks) and # 13 Hot 100 in the spring of 1966.
Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do) then rose to # 13 R&B/# 53 Hot 100 that summer], and in September he again reached back into the past to cover another oldie, this time Land Of 1000 Dances [# 77 Hot 100 in 1963 for Chris Kenner and # 30 Hot 100 in 1965 for Cannibal & The Headhunters], only his became the top version ever, reaching # 1 R&B/# 6 Hot 100. It would be his best Pop crossover.
Three solid hits followed in succession: Mustang Sally [# 6 R&B/# 23 Hot 100 in December 1966]; Everybody Needs Somebody To Love [# 19 R&B/# 29 Hot 100 in March 1967]; and I Found A Love (Part 1), which finished at # 8 R&B/# 32 Hot 100 in May 1967. It was a re-working of a # 6 R&B/# 75 Hot 100 hit he was part of back in 1962 while the lead singer with The Falcons And Band (Ohio Untouchables).
The summer of 1967 saw a double-sided hit when Soul Dance Number Three made it to # 10 R&B/# 55 Hot 100 b/w You Can't Stand Alone which rose to # 26 R&B/# 70 Hot 100 - neither included here, followed in September by his second-best Pop crossover ever, Funky Broadway, which peaked at # 1 R&B/# 8 Hot 100.
Then came the above-mentioned Stag-O-Lee/I'm In Love combination, followed by a pattern of solid Top 40 R&B/Hot 100 hits mixed with the odd one here and there that barely made the charts. Everything else in this volume, however, was a Top 30, including his interpretation of The Beatles' classic Hey Jude [# 13 R&B/# 23 Hot 100 in early 1969].
Sadly, Wilson passed away on January 19, 2006 at age 65, but not before seeing himself elected to the R&R Hall of Fame in 1991. Easily one of THE most important soul singers/songwriters of that era, and if you don't wish to spring for the more expensive 2-CD Rhine set, this is your best bet."