(Jackie Wilson – No Pity In The Naked City)
hmmm…themusicologist has been AWOL these last few days ! busy getting it all straightened out but the musicology is on constant playback in anticipation of hitting the right note. In truth I’m a bit lost for words at the moment but not for music and this one from Soul brother supreme Jackie Wilson is BOSS. For themusicologist Jackie is one of a handful of artists who personify the essence of Soul. Starting out with his performances as lead singer with Billy Wards Dominoes in 1953 right up to the 70’s Jackie was always trembling marrows with his vocal ability… and this is one of them.
(Jackie Wilson – O Come All Ye Faithful)
Just got back to the ‘Big Smoke’ after a few days spent in natural paradise with two angels. The landscape up there, (North West England), never fails to inspire me and I always come back with a bit more of a ‘Tigger Bounce’ in my step. Knocking on the Christmas door now as we come down the home straight. Tree’s up, presents beneath it, kids excited. Just have a few more things to do and then it’s kick back time from tomorrow.
A question for you all out there..has the quality of song writing, (and singing come to that), gone downhill over the last few years or am I just not being exposed to the ‘right’ material? don’t know if you noticed but I listen to a LOT of music from as far back as the early 20’s all the way through to today and if the term ‘popular’ has any meaning/value as far as making judgement is concerned then the quality of pop today is, (generally), to my ears..poor. By NO means am I suggesting that quality music isn’t still being made as I don’t need to listen any further than Master Terry Callier, (for instance), to know that marrow trembling cuts are still being made but as I listen to the ‘charts’, (not out of choice but due to having two children over the age of ten), I can’t help but be disappointed. Where are the Dinahs, Arethas, Maxine Browns, Etta James’s? the Sam Cookes, Otis Reddings, Jackie Wilsons, Clyde McPhatters, Ben E Kings, Smokey Robinsons, Marvin Gayes, Curtis Mayfields, Bobby Womacks. The Gregory Issacs, Pat Kellys, Slim Smiths, Ken Boothes, John Holts, (the list could go on and on), who are the singers and songwriters kicking arse and trembling marrows in the 21st Century??
Today’s cut is courtesy of one of the afore mentioned legends, Jackie Wilson. A man who needs no introduction with his version of the hymn ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’
(Jackie Wilson – Lonely Teardrops)
Part of the method of inquiry adopted here on this theme is to get a better idea of, (as TonyBlue said in the comments), what, who, where, why and how the nameless thing evolved from the depths of the young Urbanite experience and as far as I am concerned, (and have already stated), the music is the key to unlocking the period. Not only the music of America but also from the island of Jamaica. One conclusion is that in each of the places of note there was a genuine sense of shaking off the chains of Imperial/colonialism and the Slave/Master mentality that had ruled around the world for longer than living memory. Not just in terms of skin colour but also the ‘Class’ system which in England at least was deeply entrenched like nowhere else in the world.
A Cat named Patrick Uden makes a great point on the nameless thing, (we’ll be hearing more from him later), and it’s this
“To be a Mod/ernist you had to come from a culture where Modernism didn’t exist and therefore that made you different and England at that time was ancient it…was falling to pieces. I mean it was awful. You have no idea how miserable and Grey Britain was. The first Habitat shop opened, I think in 1962 in Chelsea and was a complete revelation”
For me the point here is that all over Europe and America the ‘Modern’ had been part of the language since the early part of the century from music in America through to architecture and design in Europe so under those conditions there was nowhere else for a youth movement to be different other than England and especially London until a group of young-bloods emerged to drag Britain kicking and screaming into ‘today’ which according to a Philosopher who I rate highly is the stomping ‘ground’ of the proletariat, one of three ‘classes’ he defines. The other two being the Arisocrat, (who lives in and on the past) and the Bourgoise who looks to and lives in tomorrow. A great observation which for me is spot on.
Today’s slice is courtesy of a member of the elite..Jackie Wilson who somehow managed to shine even under the conditions forced on him by his ‘Master’ Nat Tarnapol. It’s true Jackie was humiliated by recording some awful p(o)op between but as we all know cream rises to the very top of the bottle and in matters musical Jackie delivered some of the best Soul ever made. Hold this 1958 cut to hear what I mean…ignore the terrible backing on this cut and listen to Jackie soar whilst standing on the vanguard of the transition from Rock & Roll into Soul. Again I would just like to add that the cuts upto and including this one are not in any way ‘Rare’ but in the context of ‘Mod/ernist’ there’s no denying that when released they were as fresh as spring daisys.
(Jackie Wilson – Love Is Funny That Way)
Day five..bit later than intended but Such Is Life..
Today’s cut is from one of the greatest singers to have ever recorded….Jack Leroy Wilson Jr known simply as ‘Jackie’ who ranks right up there with the best. Jackie, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield were instrumental in fusing Rhythm & Blues, Gospel and ‘Popular’ music into what became known as Soul. Of course there were others who deserve recognition but without these three it wouldn’t be the same.
Jackie’s recording career begun in 1951 but really begun to take off after replacing Clyde McPhatter, (who left to form the Drifters), in Billy Ward’s Dominoes. In 1957 Jackie, (possibly inspired by his greatest ‘rival’ Sam Cooke), went Solo and begun his unfortunate lifelong ‘bondage’ with ‘manager’ Nat Tarnapol who is reported to be the one most responsible for robbing Jackie blind for his whole career. But the least said about him the better. Jackie racked up many hits and was quite possibly the world’s greatest performer whose stage shows are the stuff of legend. He could dance and almost sing anyone under the table but as so often seems the case died broke due to his manager’s ruthless greed and exploitation. This one from 1971, (no idea who is sharing the mic with him), was recorded and released on the Brunswick label.
mansweek .. day 2
(Jackie Wilson – I Want Somebody)
if you’re out there listening …
of the ten most soulful singers of the twentieth century, this cat is pushing for top spot and there can be no greater compliment paid than the one below from one of the others on the list:
“Jackie Wilson turned out to be probably my greatest idol that I ever had, as far as an entertainer,” said Smokey Robinson. “Because to me, he had everything. Jackie was just a complete package. The other guys could sing, but Jackie could sing and dance and entertain. He was really just great. So I think I probably admired him more so than all the other guys.”