Acrobat Music

Al Wilson, American soul singer, died on April 21st 2008

Al Wilson, American soul singer, died on April 21st 2008

We're several days early with this, but it provides an opportunity to recognise a fine soul singer who has been ill-served by the CD era. Al Wilson was born in Meridian, Mississippi on June 19th 1939, and from a young age showed an artistic and musical bent, beginning his performing career when he was just twelve with his own gospel quartet and singing the school and church choirs. His family moved to San Bernadino in California during the early 50s, where he taught himself drums while in high school. He toured for four years with Johnny Harris & The Statesmen, before enlisting with the US Navy, where he sang with a men's chorus group. Back in Los Angeles after two years miltiary service, where he worked in night clubs until joining up vocal group The Jewels, , moving on to stints with The Rollers and The Souls. His solo break came in 1966 when he signed to manager Marc Gordon, who introduced him to Johnny Rivers, and he was signed to Soul City. Rivers produced his 1968 single "The Snake" which was a major R&B hit, also reaching No. 27 on the U.S. pop charts, and No. 41 in the U.K. charts - his only British chart entry. The record went on to become popular on the UK's Northern Soul circuit. He had further minor hits in the 60s with "Do What You Gotta Do", then a cover of Creedence's "Lodi", and the Johnny Rivers song "Poor Side Of Town". Things went quiet for him for a few years until in 1973 he released the album "Show And Tell", which made a big impact, also yielding the million-selling single of the title track. Further R&B hits followed during the 70s, with his career stalled somewhat by a dispute with his label Playboy Records, which went out of business soon after. He scored a final US chart entry in 1979 with "Count The Days", after which his career primarily consisted of performing in clubs and lounges around the US., although he re-recorded his hits in 2001 for the album "Spice of Life". He died in 2008 from kidney failure at the age of 68. Acrobat has on catalogue an album of his recordings for the Rocky Road label, including "Show And Tell" - for details click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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