Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson Story: The New York Years, Vol. 2

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THE NEW YORK YEARS VOL. 2 is a cannily chosen overview of Jackie Wilson's album work between 1962 and 1966. It demonstrates once again that that what some have termed his artistic schizophrenia (a seeming inability to distinguish between sweaty R&B and pop schlock) was not simply a case of a bad mix between singer and producer, or a commercially motivated, artistically misguided attempt at crossover.

Yes, the music here is often schizophrenic, with terrific proto-soul and rock songs such as "No Pity in the Naked City " and "Baby Workout" brilliantly sung, but saddled with cornball, TV variety show orchestral and choral backing. Nevertheless, the fact is Wilson genuinely liked schmaltz (nobody held a gun to his head to get him to record Al Jolson songs), and in the context of the times this attempt to appeal to the widest possible audience didn't spell sellout; it was more like buying in.

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