THE CHICAGO YEARS VOL. 1 is an interesting overview of Jackie Wilson's later work (1966-1972), with production by Chicago soul guru Carl Davis, who had revived Wilson's career in 1967 with "Higher and Higher." Although the rest of the songs included here weren't as commercially successful, musically they're very much in the same vein--heavily influenced by Motown, down to borrowing the Funk Brothers, the label's legendary rhythm section, and actually emulating "Higher and Higher" on the otherwise Tyrone Davis-esque "Didn't I."
Eugene Record, lead singer of the Chi-Lites wrote many of the best and most melodic songs on the album--"The Fountain" is the funkiest of the bunch. Of the rest, Wilson indulges his penchant for blues balladry on covers of "That Lucky Old Sun" and "My Way," later showing off his gospel chops on the Rev. James Cleveland's "I Don't Need You Around."