Better late than never, I guess, to start digging Al Wilson.
He’s the smooth R&B and soul singer best known for hitting it big with “The Snake” in 1968 and “Show and Tell” in 1973. When Wilson passed away earlier this year, I wrote about how I’d long known those songs but had not known much else about the man behind those songs.
Fortunately, a wonderful record store in Iowa City, Iowa — the appropriately named Record Collector — has helped fill in the blanks. I stopped there on our recent trip to Iowa and found two gems by Al Wilson in the back of the soul and R&B records in the back of the store.
One was a still-sealed copy of Wilson’s 1968 debut release, “Searching for the Dolphins.” That’s the one with “The Snake.” I’d picked up a used copy weeks before, but it was in pretty rough shape.
The other nice find at Record Collector was “Show and Tell,” released in 1973 on Rocky Road Records and distributed by Bell Records. Though used, it was in fine shape.
As was Al Wilson. You know the title tune. What came next on the album was pretty good, too.
The second cut, “I’m Out To Get You,” is an uptempo R&B groove with a terrific horn chart, a smooth bass line and some fine ladies doing the backup vocals.
Al Wilson is pretty laid back himself, confidently assuring a lady they’re going to get together. The arrangement is reminiscent of Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” in a couple of quiet places, but when it’s all done, you know a more vigorous Wilson closed the deal.
“I’m Out To Get You,” Al Wilson, from “Show and Tell,” 1973. It’s out of print.
The song is available on “Show & Tell: The Best of Al Wilson,” a 2004 CD release with much of his mid-career material, including the first four cuts from this 1973 album. There’s nothing from his earlier albums released on Soul City Records, though.