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An Introduction to Wilbert Harrison

Wilbert Harrison

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Album Review

Known chiefly for his classic version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Kansas City," released in 1959 by Bobby Robinson's Fury Records, and to a lesser extent for his "comeback" hit "Let's Work Together" for Juggy Murray's Sue Records a decade later in 1969, Wilbert Harrison has a lot more to offer than most people realize. This varied set assembles a mixed bag of single releases, including "Kansas City" and Harrison's delightfully ragged and shambling "Let's Stick Together," which turned out to be his final release for Fury. Also included here are three sides from Marshall E. Sehorn's Sea-Horn Records from 1963; Harrison's lone 1965 single from Port Records, "You're Still My Baby" b/w "Baby Move On"; a 1966 track from Allen Toussaint's Deesu Records, "Clementine"; and a nuanced cover of the Mel London-penned "Poison Ivy" from Vest Records. Also of note here is 1971's "Pretty Little Woman," which was actually Harrison singing a totally new song over a backing track recorded by Elmore James a decade earlier. The amazing thing about this rather haphazard assortment of singles is that it has an incredible internal coherence, and it makes a fine introduction to Harrison even though it lacks "Let's Work Together" and several other key tracks from his recording career. Harrison's measured vocals, which mixed R&B and early soul with just a tangible hint of country, are so easygoing and accessible that everything here feels like it belongs together, even though these tracks were recorded for half a dozen different labels.

Biography

Born: 05 January 1929 in Charlotte, NC

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Perceived by casual oldies fans as a two-hit wonder (for his 1959 chart-topper "Kansas City" and a heartwarming "Let's Work Together" a full decade later), Wilbert Harrison actually left behind a varied body of work that blended...
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An Introduction to Wilbert Harrison, Wilbert Harrison
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