ARTIST: Jackie Wilson
TITLE: The Ultimate Jackie Wilson
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 10: Reet Petite (#62 US, #6 UK- #1 UK on re-release), To Be Loved (#22 US, #7 R&B, #23 UK), Lonely Teardrops (#7 US, #1 R&B), That’s Why (I Love You So) (#13 US, #2 R&B), I’ll Be Satisfied (#20 US, #6 R&B), You Better Know It (#37 US, #1 R&B), Talk That Talk (#34 US, #3 R&B), A Woman A Lover A Friend (#15 US, #1 R&B), Night (#4 US, #3 R&B), Doggin’ Around (#15 US, #1 R&B), Alone at Last (#8 US, #20 R&B, #50 UK), Am I the Man (#32 US, #10 R&B), My Empty Arms (#9 US, #25 R&B), I’m Comin’ Back to You (#19 US, #9 R&B), Baby Workout (#5 US, #1 R&B), Whispers (Gettin’ Louder) (#11 US, #5 R&B), (Your Love Keeps Lifing Me) Higher and Higher (#6 US, #1 R&B), I Get the Sweetest Feeling (#34 US, #12 R&B, #9 UK, #3 UK on re-release), (I Can Feel Those Vibrations) This Love Is Real (#56 US, #9 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He covered a lot of popular hits late in the 60’s
LINEUP: Jackie Wilson, some very white background singers, session musicians, and some help by Lavern Baker, the Chi-Lites and Count Basie.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the best early soul / R&B singers of the rock era is well, almost too well, documented here.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jackie Wilson was a natural entertainer, and as a singer he evoked emotion and joy. “Mr. Excitement” on stage, many times his records were middle-of-the-road glop more suited for a crooner than someone with his vocal range and style. Even his blues records were over-produced with strings and white-bread backing vocals.
Still, when he was allowed to cut loose he was one of the best. The list of singles is impressive, but more impressive is his influence on his contemporaries and those who followed. Elvis and Michael Jackson were huge admirers. James Brown and Solomon Burke no doubt looked at his stage show and formulated how they could match or top it.
Wilson’s life was tragic in many ways, but his legacy makes him well-remembered. This collection has all of the highlights, and while it’s a bit bloated it’s the best overview around.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: He collapsed on stage in 1975, and was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes in various states of comas until he passed away in 1984.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: None
GRADE: B+: I hate to give this a higher grade because of the glop he sang that Brunswick made him (so he could crossover to the easy listening market), but there’s enough of that stuff on there that makes this a slog at times. Still, you need plenty of Jackie Wilson in your collection.