Deep Dive: Wilson Pickett, THE WICKED PICKETT
If you’re a fan of classic ‘60s R&B, then it’s hard to say that anything from within the catalog of Wilson Pickett is truly a deep dive: during that particular decade, it seemed like the man they called “Wicked” was delivering an LP’s worth of instant classics whenever he released a new full-length effort. Still, if there’s one album from Pickett’s ‘60s output that’s worth diving for, then surely it’s the one that features his nickname.
Released in 1967 on the heels of his first best-of set, THE WICKED PICKETT kicked off with a track which would go on to serve as one of The Commitments’ signature songs: “Mustang Sally.” The song also served as the album’s first single, and it took Pickett into the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, as did its second single, “Everybody Needs Someone to Love.” The album also featured a few other classic tracks, including two tracks by Linden Oldham and Dan Penn (“She Ain’t Gonna Do Right” and “Up Tight Good Woman”), Pickett’s take on Norman Meade’s “Time Is on My Side” (yes, the same one covered by the Rolling Stones), a version of “Knock on Wood,” and a howling version of “Sunny.”
Even in a classic-filled catalog like the one doled out by Wilson Pickett, THE WICKED PICKETT stands head and shoulders among the rest. As Ron Wynn wrote of the album on AllMusic.com, “It had everything -- great songs, wonderful production and arrangements, and a hungry, galvanizing Wilson Pickett hollering, screaming, shouting, and soaring on anything he covered, from ballads to uptempo dance and midtempo wailers.” He also calls the album “fabulous,” and he’s in no way wrong.
If you’ve already got a Wilson Pickett best-of collection, then you’re on the right track, but if you’re looking for a studio album by Pickett to add to the mix, get WICKED and you can’t go wrong.