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Wilbert Harrison An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD)

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(Fuel 2000) 16 tracks with notes by Bill Dahl. - Known chiefly for his classic version of Jerry... more

Wilbert Harrison: An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD)

(Fuel 2000) 16 tracks with notes by Bill Dahl.
-
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. (Steve Leggett)

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Article properties: Wilbert Harrison: An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD)

  • Interpret: Wilbert Harrison

  • Album titlle: An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD)

  • Genre R&B, Soul

  • Label FUEL 2000

  • Artikelart CD

  • EAN: 0030206159929

  • weight in Kg 0.107
Harrison, Wilbert - An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD) CD 1
01 Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
02 Let's Stick Together Wilbert Harrison
03 I Will Never Trust Another Woman Wilbert Harrison
04 Near To You Wilbert Harrison
05 I Got To Know Wilbert Harrison
06 My Heart Is Yours Wilbert Harrison
07 It Will Have To Do Until The Real Thing Comes Again Wilbert Harrison
08 Please Forgive Me Wilbert Harrison
09 Baby Move On Wilbert Harrison
10 You're Still My Baby Wilbert Harrison
11 After Graduation Wilbert Harrison
12 Off To Work Again Wilbert Harrison
13 Clementine Wilbert Harrison
14 Pretty Little Woman Wilbert Harrison
15 Say It Again Wilbert Harrison
16 Poison Ivy Wilbert Harrison
Wilbert Harrison Kansas City has been a hallowed standard for so long that it’s easy... more
"Wilbert Harrison"

Wilbert Harrison

Kansas City has been a hallowed standard for so long that it’s easy to forget that prior to Wilbert Harrison’s across-the-board chart-topping rendition for Bobby Robinson’s Fury label, cut in February of 1959, the song had been a dud. Texas pianist Little Willie Littlefield cut the original of the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller composition in ’52 for Federal to no avail, and Little Richard’s torrid mid-‘50s versions for Specialty didn’t see light of day at the time.

Harrison persuaded Robinson to cut the number, the Harlem record entrepreneur obliging with a session that Wilbert didn’t arrive at until the band was packing up its gear. Bobby coughed up an extra few bucks to rent the joint for another 15 minutes, Harrison sat down at the 88s, and promptly cut a classic. Its off-kilter rhythm was complemented by the barbed-wire lead guitar and chomping chording of New York session ace Wild Jimmy Spruill. Unfortunately, Wilbert didn’t inform Bobby that he wasn’t its author, and he was greeted by an avalanche of covers. Still, Wilbert ended up sitting atop the pop and R&B charts that spring.  They were listening down in Jamaica as well; the song’s offbeat rhythm probably helped launch the ska movement.

Born January 5, 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harrison’s approach was a weird mixture of country, R&B, gospel, even calypso. After exiting the Navy in 1950, Wilbert landed in Miami, a city whose R&B recording scene was presided over by Henry Stone. Harrison made his debut sides for Stone’s Glades logo in ’53 and cut more for Chart and DeLuxe before heading off to Newark, New Jersey and signing with the Savoy label. Wilbert’s eclectic Savoy output commenced in mid-’54 and took him into 1957, when he was shown the door by Savoy boss Herman Lubinsky.

Harrison thought he was free of contractual obligations when Kansas City tore up the charts, but Lubinsky thought otherwise, leading to more litigation. But Wilbert stayed on Fury, making more 45s (Cheating Baby, the sequel Goodbye Kansas City, The Horse, and his memorable Fury farewell Let’s Stick Together) without equaling his shining moment. But he did emerge triumphant a decade later, reworking the last title into the brotherhood ode Let’s Work Together for Juggy Murray’s Sue imprint. It proved a sizable pop hit that also attracted its share of covers.

Sometimes working as a one-man band, Harrison kept on performing even after the recording opportunities dried up. He died October 26, 1994 in Spencer, North Carolina. The metropolis of Kansas City was far better for his efforts.

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

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Tracklist
Harrison, Wilbert - An Introduction To Wilburt Harrison (CD) CD 1
01 Kansas City
02 Let's Stick Together
03 I Will Never Trust Another Woman
04 Near To You
05 I Got To Know
06 My Heart Is Yours
07 It Will Have To Do Until The Real Thing Comes Again
08 Please Forgive Me
09 Baby Move On
10 You're Still My Baby
11 After Graduation
12 Off To Work Again
13 Clementine
14 Pretty Little Woman
15 Say It Again
16 Poison Ivy