Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia Hey, I'm feeling a little down on the city right now, what with the SEPTA strike and city hall corruption and cheesesteaks being so damned bad for you. But hey, we did produce The Philadelphia Sound.

Wilson Pickett is one of the most recognized soul/R&B singers in history, but he is often remembered mainly for his raw, "aggressive" dance songs, more James Brown than Sam Cooke. I think the diversity of his catalog is often overlooked.

Here we have a couple tracks from In Philadelphia, an album cut at Sigma Sound Studios with the legendary Kenny Gamble and George Huff at the helm. The "Wicked Pickett" signature delivery is evident here, but the production adds a complexity lacking in many of his recordings. It was the second to last album Pickett cut with Atlantic before departing for RCA. Bad move - Pickett never had another hit.

I often wonder what would have happened had Picket moved instead to Philadelphia International, the label Gamble & Huff launched around the time of Picket's label jump. Judging from the quality of this record, it's best not to think about what could have been. Both of the tracks below tend to get short shrift in reviews and compilations, and the album itself is out of print, although a nice Rhino reissue CD was out a few years ago. Help The Needy is a ballad that shows off Pickett's sensitive side without sounding sappy. International Playboy is downright silly, but I like it more every time I hear it.

Pickett is apparently still alive but doesn't seem to be playing the oldies circuit or making any new music. Joe Henry should really give him a call. Better yet, Rick Rubin.

Help The Needy


Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Thanks for posting this. Pickett's version is much tighter. Very cool.

10:45 AM  

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