Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Recordings

Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Recordings

by Wilson PickettWilson Pickett


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Wilson Pickett went from a journeyman R&B singer to one of the most successful soul shouters in the game during his tenure with Atlantic Records, which began in 1965. But Pickett kept his eye on the bottom line, and in 1973 he signed with RCA Records, telling a reporter, "RCA made me a good offer which Atlantic didn't feel they could match, and I naturally took it." In retrospect, that deal might not have been as good as Pickett imagined, since the albums he recorded for RCA seriously underperformed on the charts, and they quickly dropped out of print. Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Recordings gives soul music fans a chance to re-evaluate Pickett's work for the label, as it includes his four studio LPs for RCA in full -- 1973's Mr. Magic Man and Miz Lena's Boy, 1974's Pickett in the Pocket, and 1975's Join Me and Let's Be Free. (A fifth RCA release, 1974's Live in Japan, doesn't make the cut.) Mr. Magic Man was cut in Philadelphia with producers Brad Shapiro and Dave Crawford, and while the title cut briefly scraped the lower regions of the pop charts, the album's polished, string-laden production, clearly meant to emulate the trademark Philadelphia International sound, was a bit too slick to make a good match for the Wicked Pickett, and while his vocals are fine, the album lacks energy. Miz Lena's Boy was a stronger set, and the opening cut, "Take a Closer Look at the Woman You're With," would prove to be Pickett's last single to make the pop charts (peaking at number 90). Pickett co-produced the album with Shapiro, and if remakes of "Memphis, Tennessee," "Never My Love," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night" don't seem inspiring, Pickett fills them with soul, and the latter has never sounded tougher and more physical. The Pickett and Shapiro team returned for Pickett in the Pocket, and prompted by tough backing from the Muscle Shoals Swampers, Pickett digs into a tough, deep Southern groove on numbers like "I Was Too Nice" and "What Good Is a Lie," while Jesse Winchester's "Isn't That So" turned out to be an unexpectedly fine choice for a cover. And while Join Me and Let's Be Free has a casual sound that suggests Pickett and producer Yusuf Rahman knew this was the shouter's last album for RCA, the best songs have a playful touch that brings out the humor in "Bailin' Hay on a Rainy Day" and "Mighty Mouth." Joe Marchese's liner notes are informative, and the remastering by Vic Anesini makes the most of the recordings, while mono mixes of four tunes have been included as a bonus. If none of these albums are lost classics, Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Recordings proves Pickett's RCA work was better than the legend suggests, and fans of '70s soul will find this to be well worth their time.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/04/2015
Label: Real Gone Music
UPC: 0848064003847
catalogNumber: 6400384
Rank: 120777

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wilson Pickett   Primary Artist,Conductor
Brad Shapiro   Conductor
Rhodes   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Paul Butterfield   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Chuck Berry   Composer
Wilson Pickett   Arranger,Composer,Producer,rhythm arrangement
Jesse Winchester   Composer
Bobby Charles   Composer
Charles Wright   Composer
Phil Spector   Composer
Troy Seals   Composer
George Jackson   Composer
Don Addrisi   Composer
Kevin Beamish   Composer
Barry Beckett   Composer
Michael Boshears   Engineer
Jim Crotty   Engineer
Bobby Eli   Composer
Don Goodman   Composer
Will Jennings   Composer
Robert Margouleff   Engineer
Clyde Otis   Composer
Pachucki   Engineer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Ben Raleigh   Composer
Sonny Sanders   Composer
Brad Shapiro   Arranger,Composer,Producer,rhythm arrangement
Terry Thomas   Composer
Jackie Verdell   Composer
Gerry Masters   Engineer
Carl Fisher   Composer
Yusuf Rahman   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Dave Crawford   Composer,Producer,rhythm arrangement
Dick Addrisi   Composer
Rob Santos   Producer
Artice Bartley   Composer
Robert Bateman   Composer
Mike Lewis   String Arrangements
Joe Marchese   Liner Notes
Sam Fox   Composer
Robert Welsh   Composer
Greg Hamm   Engineer
Don Covay   Composer
Dave Van DePitte   String Arrangements
Judith Raifman   Composer
Christopher Huston   Engineer

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