Wilson Pickett – 1974 – Pickett in the Pocket

Wilson Pickett’s work in the 1970s had not been very productive until he released this Pickett in the Pocket in 1974. In those RCA years, soulman had recorded only three reasonable albums, far from the golden period of Atlantic. However, for this one, Pickett received the luxurious assistance of the Memphis Horns, old stamped 1960s soul figurines, and still had the intelligence to turn to Muscle Shoals Studios in his native Alabama. This made it hard to go wrong.

The soul music engendered in Muscle Shoals has always been marked by some harshness, borrowing from something from seminal rock, hints of country, a bit of gospel and blues.  As a long-time, potent voice singer and funky lover, the studio’s traditionalism and acoustic simplicity made it a perfect vehicle. So we have a dirtier, more primary record, unlike something sometimes dancey and symphonic from its other releases of the same decade.

A1 Iron It Out 3:00
A2 Isn’t That So 3:12
A3 Take a Look 3:25
A4 I Was Too Nice 3:45
A5 Don’t Pass Me By 2:55
B1 What Good Is a Lie 2:37
B2 Young Boy Blues 3:19
B3 Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It 2:34
B4 You’re the One 6:38

In keeping with the rough edges of ‘Miz Lena’s Boy’, the 1974 release ‘Pickett in the Pocket’ is another highly worthwhile RCA disc. Recorded at Muscle Shoals and with the Memphis Horns present, it offers plenty of latter-day Southern Soul gems.

The hard socking romper “Iron It Out” kicks the set off magnificently: a greasy, fatback floorshaker featuring some nifty horn riffs. Roger Hawkins (drums) and Dave Hood (bass) pump up an intricate, funky rhythm on “Isn’t That So“, a tune showcasing Wilson’s gospel background.

Pickett belts out a righteous message on “Take a Look“, referencing poet Nikki Giovanni in mid-song while admonishing his listeners that no one wins ‘when the price is hate’.

Slipping back in his slowburnin’, deep soul bag, “I Was Too Nice” is a tour de force of Pickett’s vocal athletics, and he gets thangs moving once more on the barrelhouse boogie jam “Don’t Pass Me By“.

Beautiful gospel melodies and gutwrenching vocals make up the intense soul ballad “What Good Is a Lie“, and the Wicked Pickett throws in some unadulterated lowdown blues as well, ripping through the juke joint crowdpleaser “Young Man Blues“.

Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It” ranks as one of Pickett’s greatest funk work-outs: a mammothly grooving, driving, pulsating stomper filled with church piano fills, hip shaking tambourines and crunchy guitar licks.

But the LP ends on a more subdued note, as Wilson churns out a revitalized version of his classic pre-superstardom R&B classic “You’re the One“…