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If You Need Me

Wilson Pickett

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Album Review

Wilson Pickett will always be remembered for his mid-'60s stay at Atlantic Records, where, working with the Stax producers and musicians, he issued such deep soul classics as "In the Midnight Hour," "Mustang Sally," "Funky Broadway," and "Land of 1000 Dances." Prior to Atlantic, though, Pickett had some success, as well, first with the Falcons in 1962 with "I Found a Love," and then in his fledgling solo career with Lloyd Price's Double L imprint, which brought him charting R&B hits with "It's Too Late" and "If You Need Me" and led to his first LP, 1963's It's Too Late. The Double L tracks have been repackaged and reissued countless times over the years under various titles, including in the CD era as Baby Call on Me (Dynamic in 2004), The Best of Wilson Pickett (Direct Source in 2001), An Essential Collection (Legacy in 2005), The Magic of Wilson Pickett (Dressed to Kill in 2000), Soul of Wilson Pickett (Cleopatra in 2001), Wilson Pickett (Direct Source in 2006), and several times under the title If You Need Me (by Acrobat in 2003, Prime Cuts in 1996, and St. Clair in 2006). The graphics and packaging of these releases may be somewhat suspect, but the music certainly isn't, and tracks like "It's Too Late," "If You Need Me," "Down to My Last Heartbreak," and the hard-charging "Baby Call on Me" are fine examples of early soul, and if these sides lack the electric power and punch of the Atlantic/Stax material that followed a couple of years later, it's only by a matter of degree. This is still powerful stuff, and the Double L material is definitely worth seeking out in one of its incarnations.


Born: 18 March 1941 in Prattville, AL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Of the major '60s soul stars, Wilson Pickett was one of the roughest and sweatiest, working up some of the decade's hottest dancefloor grooves on hits like "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway." Although he tends to be held in somewhat lower esteem than more versatile talents like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, he is often a preferred alternative of fans who like their soul on the rawer side. He also did a good deal to establish...
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