Wilbert Harrison

Kansas City: His Legendary Golden Classics

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After his pop smash "Kansas City," Wilbert Harrison never recorded a single to match it, the only close call being his other chart hit, the pleasantly grooving "Let's Work Together." Those songs lead off this Collectables set (the second appears in its full two-part version), followed by a parade of Harrison's versions of R&B hits of the '50s and '60s, among them "C.C. Rider," "Stand by Me," "Blue Monday," and "Stagger Lee." These weren't just tossoffs, though. Harrison's performances were more interesting than the usual R&B crossovers of the day; he possessed the pacing of an urbane blues vocalist like Jimmy Rushing but his delivery and pitch were oddly reminiscent of honky tonk singers (check out his especially strong version of the Lenny Welch hit "Since I Fell for You"). "Kansas City" and "Let's Work Together" are his only true classics, but Wilbert Harrison recorded some other solid material during his time with Bobby Robinson's Fury label.

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