Sometimes you’re not in the mood for subtlety.
Or anything else that’s got more than one syllable.
You want sweat.
That clenched scream: “Uhowwwww!”
Wilson Pickett, live, Germany, 1968
“Everybody Needs Someone To Love”
“I’m In Love”
“Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)”
“We didn’t make enough money to press our suits,” Pickett reminisced when asked about the Violinaires, the gospel group he formed shortly after moving to Detroit from his native Alabama. “We would sing three programs a Sunday at different churches. We’d sing our hearts out, and so we done sweated up that suit three times — from the socks all the way up.
“The sisters would get up and they’d put a penny or a dime on the table and say ‘Ya’ll boys sho’ can sing.’ And we’d come in the back, and they got all the chicken baskets and pies and stuff to eat, and even occasionally one of the sisters would take you home.”
The young Pickett soon caught the eye not only of a sister or two, but also of the Falcons, a local R&B group with whom he later wrote and sang his first hit song, “I Found a Love,” in 1962.
“I was scared because these people says that if you leave God and go to the devil, you’re going to go to hell. You see, I wanted to sing gospel, but I wanted to make some money, too. So I said, ‘No I’ll never leave, I’ll never leave God.’ Until that evening that one of the Falcons came by and I was sitting on the back porch and I went down and tried it out. And from then on I told God, I looked up and I said, ‘I’m on my way this way — would You care to go with me? I’d really appreciate Your being with me. It’d make me feel better.’—Ken Emerson, “Wilson Pickett: Soul Man On Ice”