February 1, 2007

Tamla Tim’s Soul Survivor

Filed under: music, editorial, Tamla Tim — tamlatim @ 12:27 pm
Jackie Wilson - ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’, 1967, Brunsick

This is one of a handful of songs that, just about every time I hear it, completely engulfs me. I’ve been known, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, to close my eyes on the dance floor when this record comes on, dancing crazily into people feeling the driving rhythm, absolutely past caring what anyone thinks. Jackie Wilson had, many say, a voice that could rival and even surpass any of the best soul singers but rarely found song writing to match it. Having had early hit written by Berry Gordy (then a failed record store owner, before he went on to start a little label called Motown) Wilson went through a lean period that wasn’t helped by a ‘fan’ who shot him onstage in 1961. ‘higher and Higher’ was his big comeback, and what a way to come back. After years of below par material he sings like he’s found heaven and achieves that rarest of things - a love song that never once sounds trite or mawkish and could convince even the most jaded of ears that it’s not all a conspiracy to sell more chocolates and roses but raw, passionate, beautiful, all powerful force. The combination of an explosive horn section and Wilson voice moving effortlessly from almost a growl of desire to ecstatic falsetto threatens to lift you up off the dance floor with it and, if only for a few moments, nothing can touch you. It was also the song which, in the film classic ‘Ghostbusters 2’ brought the Statue Of Liberty to life to go and kick ass on the spirit of an evil dictator who had escaped from a painting, which is the best recommendation I can imagine.

Powered by WordPress