Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Al Wilson - Listen To Me

Some funky B-side soul magic today:

Allen LaMar "Al" Wilson (June 19, 1939 – April 21, 2008) was born in Meridian, Mississippi. He showed little interest in education but performed in school plays, sung in talent shows and won first prize in a local art contest. Wilson began his career at the age of 12 leading his own spiritual quartet and singing in the church choir, even performing covers of country and western hits as circumstances dictated. While he was in high school, Wilson and his family relocated to San Bernardino, California, where he worked odd jobs as a mail carrier, a janitor, and an office clerk, in addition to teaching himself to play drums; after graduation he spent four years touring with Johnny Harris and the Statesmen before joining the U.S. Navy and singing with an enlisted men's chorus. He also developed his stand up comedy routine to fall back on in case he didn't make it as a singer.

After a two-year military stint, Wilson settled in Los Angeles, touring the local nightclub circuit before joining the R&B vocal group the Jewels; from there he landed with the Rollers, followed by a stint with the instrumental combo the Souls. In 1966, Wilson signed with manager Marc Gordon, who quickly scored his client an acappella audition for Johnny Rivers — the "Secret Agent Man" singer not only signed Wilson to his Soul City imprint, but also agreed to produce the sessions that yielded the 1968 R&B smash "The Snake" (U.S. #27),which has been very popular on the Northern Soul music circuit in the UK; it also provided Wilson with his only British chart hit, reaching number 41 in 1975. The minor hit "Do What You Gotta Do" appeared that same year. In 1969, Wilson charted with his cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lodi" (U.S. #67), and Rivers' own "Poor Side Of Town" (U.S. #75).

Wilson largely disappeared from sight until 1973, when he issued the platinum-selling Show And Tell, a Johnny Mathis castoff that sold well over a million copies.

This is the B-side to the million seller and kicks the shit out of Show and Tell...

Al Wilson - Listen To Me


Jason Daniels said...

Listen To Me was sampled on ?!@!#
Better Have My Money by AMG.

Donna Lethal said...

I cannot imagine Mathis doing "Show and Tell." Wise move.

sirlordford said...

Right from the first notes you can tell this beats the hell out of "Show and Tell."