Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jackie Wilson

When I am looking for great old songs to listen to the Internet, two of my favorites are Baby, Work Out and Alone at Last by Jackie Wilson. Jackie was one of the giants of the 1950-60s Rock and Roll era, and he had many, many hits.

Yet, I don't think he was or is as greatly appreciated as he should have been given the range of his talent.  I have picked out video of those two songs to show you what I mean. The first is, Baby, Work Out, probably, the most fast-paced of his hits. On this appearance on a TV show, he shows his great dancing skills.

Now listen to this song, Alone at Last, which shows his range of voice in this classic modeled after Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto Number One.

Jackie's personal life was full of tragedy and troubles. In addition, Jackie's last years were difficult in terms of health. He was the victim of a shooting and died in 1984 at age 49 after a long illness. In his era, many of our black singers were badly exploited by their managers and didn't profit from their work as they should have.

When I listen to Jackie's songs, I can't help thinking that there is another tragedy that people don't talk about in connection with all the problems surrounding hip hop. In my view, it has destroyed one of America's great art forms-black music.

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