Friday, January 27, 2006

Disco Delivery #4:
Wilson Pickett - I Want You (1979, EMI America)

Wilson Pickett - Groove City
Wilson Pickett - Superstar
Wilson Pickett - Granny
Wilson Pickett - Shameless

In lieu of Wilson Pickett's recent passing and the fact that I haven't put up any male singers yet, I decided to put up some selections from his little-recognized 1979 "I Want You" album.. To be honest, I'm not so familiar with his big hits, but last week at the record store, out of curiosity, I bought this LP. I figure since it was from 1979, there had to be some disco on it, and there was.. I'm not sure how it compares to his other work, but for an album that doesn't seem to have been paid much attention, I can honestly say it's really good, at least on it's own terms. It's another one of those albums where you can listen to both sides straight through without lifting the needle. Can't talk about the album without mentioning his voice.. While his recording career seemed to be in decline at this point, that soulful, gritty and passionate voice was full and intact. Side A was the R&B side and it's really there where his voice is front and centre; some really great ones on this side like "I Want You," "Shameless" and "Live With Me" which was written by Pickett and Don Covay. Side B was the disco side and all three tracks on side B are posted up here. "Groove City" is probably my favourite, love the combination of the light synths with his nitty-gritty voice, also love that roll-call of American cities.. "if you're in Miami, Philly or New York City.. don't worry.. even in Detroit, Atlanta GA, or LA".. "Superstar" is great too, a little more on the funk side of things, love the bass on there; for whatever reason though it reminds me of another song which I can't quite put my finger on.. The last one, "Granny" well, probably not the best name for a disco song, but hey, it's got a pretty great groove "...if my grandma could see me now, she would swear I'm craaazy!..." I just wish I knew what those background singers were saying..

Ironically this is also my first Can-Con disco posting. For those of you who don't know, it's basically lingo for Canadian Content and the quotas we have for it up here, albums with any significant Canadian content have these "MAPL" symbols on them showing the amount of Canadian involvement.. It was one of the other things that interested me about this LP since I wouldn't have expected to see all these Canadian Content symbols on the album of a US soul legend, but I suppose it qualifies since it was recorded with a Canadian producer (Andre Perry) with Canadian musicians (Jean Roussel, Walter Rossi..) and in a Canadian studio (Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec), so a little trivia there for you all..

I also included one of the R&B tracks off the album - "Shameless," I think this one shows off the best parts of his voice very well; that rough, soulful style he had.. Anyway, this is my little tribute to Wilson Pickett's legacy. I hope to get some of his earlier stuff and also his "Funky Situation" (1978, Big Tree) LP, which also had some disco on it from what I've heard. Enjoy these for now..



1 comment:

Christopher Duquette said...

I wrote extensively about my 1st hand experience frequenting the underground club scene that populated the once active Meat Market from 1976 – 1980: The Anvil, Alice in Wonderland, Crisco Disco, my book Homo GoGo Man: a fairytale about a boy who grew up in discoland, now in a new improved 2nd edition with a more marketable cover after 4 years as a best seller. In the late 80’s, when Ecstasy was the drug of choice, there was an underground circuit called ‘Outlaw Parties’ that, pre-social media, the telephone was the means of promoting the time and place of the next party, thrown in some obscure and vacated space in NYC: the Williamsburg Bridge, a subway station no longer in use, a McDonald’s in Times Square, the back of a truck parked in the meatmarket. One night I was privy to an ‘Outlaw Party’ location and starting time where we strangers met under the dangerously decrepit but still existing elevated rail road tracks that ran from 23rd Street into the West Village. Everyone expected the railway to be demolished, like the elevated West side highway. But on that night, we party revelers met a the designated time and spot to climb an existing ladder to the weed coated elevated railway, keeping vigilant about numerous gaping holes and the expectation of law enforcement agents. Until then, we would dance in the dark to a boom-box. It sorrows me to see a neighborhood that we could feel fearless in now the domain of the super-rich, with stores and restaurants selling merchandise unobtainable to our current financial status. That the elevated railway was celebrated by the historic society to preserve a piece of NYC history, open to the public as “the High-Line” was a nice gesture. But the cookie-cutter construction of architecturally generic high-end high-rise residential structures distract from the quaint charm of the night I trespassed on the old remains of a time in history in NYC that no longer exists: it was a city dependent on the commerce of the railroad cars carrying cargo and meat markets, with neighborhoods that were affordable to call home to the working and young new pioneers of a more attainable NYC.

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