Saturday, November 18, 2006

Soul-Blues Saturday: Thinkin' 'Bout Pickett

Wilson Pickett - Outskirts of Town

One of the saddest events to be noted on this blog was the passing of Wilson Pickett. At that time I did a series of posts about his great recordings and did a tribute set, which is still downloadable (see the "Podcasts" section). I included today's selection in the set, but I felt like featuring it today.

Wilson Pickett won a Handy Award for It's Harder Now, his triumphant comeback album. At the time of the album's release, Pickett and everyone involved boasted about how there was nothing synthetic about the album, and although the album wasn't the home run that Solomon Burke or Bettye LaVette would have with their comeback albums, it was a great effort and Pickett is shown to be in great voice and spirit. The documentary Only the Strong Survive was made during that time, and Pickett's moments in the film, made in part while Pickett was shooting stills for the album and promotional materials, found Pickett to have overcome the various demons that befell him in the '80s and '90s to be both wise and wise-cracking ("Did I have a good summer?" Pickett replies to the greeting he receives when met by the interviewer, "I had a good winter too! And a good fall, and that ain't all!") Had Pickett cut a song like "Outskirts of Town" during his Atlantic prime it would've been a hit, as all of the elements of a good soul record are there. It's my favorite from the album, and so it makes a repeat performance here!

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