Picks and Pans Review: The Jackie Wilson Story
updated 06/06/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/06/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In 1957 a talented young tenor for the slick, soulful Dominoes hooked up with a young songwriter to record a tune called Reet Petite. The songsmith was Berry Gordy Jr., who later founded Motown Records, and the vocalist was Jackie Wilson, who suffered a heart attack (and subsequent brain damage) in 1975 and has not performed since. Wilson, born in Detroit in 1934, is best remembered for his affected work on the 1958 No. 1 hit Lonely Teardrops. But this double-LP set provides an impressive sampling of the breadth of his too brief career. The 24 songs in this retrospective show Jackie the sexy shouter (Please Tell Me Why), the blues belter (Doggin' Around), the crooner (Night) and the inspired stylist (Danny Boy). In the studio, Wilson's songs were often boosted with saccharine string arrangements and choral oooo-eee-ooos. What is missing is evidence of the live performer who was as skillful as Elvis or James Brown in stirring a crowd's animal passions.