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It Ain't Easy - Essential Recordings

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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." Although he remained an exciting singer and was always a powerful stage presence, he never quite equaled that '60s Stax-fed output again, although he came close in 1999 with his final studio album, It's Harder Now, which was produced by Jon Tiven. Gritty and hard-driving, It's Harder Now was both Pickett's comeback album and his swan song. This set, entitled It Ain't Easy, is essentially that final album resequenced and minus one track, the mildly risqué "What's Under That Dress?" Cuts like "Outskirts of Town," "Taxi Love." and "Soul Survivor" have a wonderful, joyous, and gritty feel, and it's comforting that Pickett was as vital at the end as he was earlier in his career.

Customer Reviews

It's Harder now

1999 offerings from the master, Wilson Pickett, in good voice and with his wicked persona intact. Hammering horns, blues guitar licks and blunt-force lyrics show how this never warm, never fuzzy singer added his name to the soul roll with Cooke, Redding, Green and very few others.


Born: March 18, 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 the sound of Southern...
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