20 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jackie Wilson emerged from a generation of Fifties R&B performers that exerted a direct influence on what would soon be known as “soul music.” But while Ray Charles, James Brown, and Sam Cooke have all assumed hallowed places in the pantheon of soul music forefathers, Wilson is largely overlooked. Truth to tell, only Cooke could hold a candle to Wilson's widespread influence, and the two shared a lot. They both had versatile voices and matinee-idol looks to make the ladies swoon. They both merged gospel and R&B with pop to invent a whole new genre of African-American music. But when it came to stage presentation, not even Cooke could compete with Wilson, whose dance moves and microphones tricks electrified a generation of black performers, including the entire Motown roster. Wilson would have two of his greatest successes in the mid-Sixties with the Motown-influenced tracks “Whispers (Getting Louder)” (presented here in an unfortunate remix) and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher,” but “Lonely Teardrops,” “That’s Why (I Love You So),” and “Am I the Man” should give you an idea of just how electrifying Wilson was to a generation of soul music hopefuls that ranged from Marvin Gaye to Van Morrison.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jackie Wilson emerged from a generation of Fifties R&B performers that exerted a direct influence on what would soon be known as “soul music.” But while Ray Charles, James Brown, and Sam Cooke have all assumed hallowed places in the pantheon of soul music forefathers, Wilson is largely overlooked. Truth to tell, only Cooke could hold a candle to Wilson's widespread influence, and the two shared a lot. They both had versatile voices and matinee-idol looks to make the ladies swoon. They both merged gospel and R&B with pop to invent a whole new genre of African-American music. But when it came to stage presentation, not even Cooke could compete with Wilson, whose dance moves and microphones tricks electrified a generation of black performers, including the entire Motown roster. Wilson would have two of his greatest successes in the mid-Sixties with the Motown-influenced tracks “Whispers (Getting Louder)” (presented here in an unfortunate remix) and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher,” but “Lonely Teardrops,” “That’s Why (I Love You So),” and “Am I the Man” should give you an idea of just how electrifying Wilson was to a generation of soul music hopefuls that ranged from Marvin Gaye to Van Morrison.

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