Jackie Wilson

The Essential Masters With Billy Ward and His Dominoes

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Although Jackie Wilson is given top billing on this collection of King and Federal releases, he was a relative unknown when he replaced the great Clyde McPhatter in Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953. The Dominoes were a top draw R&B group at the time, due in no small part to McPhatter, who would go on to even greater glory as a founding member of the Drifters, while Wilson had only a single on Dee Gee Records (both sides of which are included here as bonus tracks) to his credit. A superb bandleader and songwriter, Billy Ward recognized Wilson's dynamic talent, and with Wilson's over the top gospel approach and unique phrasing, which often cascaded into swooping melismatic sighs, the Dominoes never skipped a beat, and continually charted hits with Wilson until his departure for a solo career in 1956. Among the highlights here are the set opener, a loping "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down," a Wilson-led cover of Tony Bennett's "Rags to Riches," a superb version of Casey Bill Weldon's 1936 blues gem, "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town," and an absolutely loopy arrangement of the pop oldie "Tenderly," which features some wacky outer space organ. The Dominoes left the King/Federal group in 1956 to sign with Decca Records, and Wilson departed soon after to sign with Brunswick Records and begin his solo career. The tracks collected here exhibit a wonderfully loose and exuberant joy, and while Wilson went on to greater fame as a solo artist, his work with the Dominoes is every bit as strong and deserves a wider audience.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:14
2 3:10
3 2:50
4
2:29
5
3:20
6
2:57
7 2:33
8
3:04
9 2:41
10 2:44
11 3:00
12
2:07
13 2:33
14 2:41
15
2:26
16 2:23
17
2:34
18 2:27
19
2:44
blue highlight denotes track pick