It's Harder Now
Performer: Wilson Pickett
Artist: Simon Kirke; Eddie Kramer; Billie Ray Martin
Engineer: Joe Johnson...
Producer: Jon Tiven...
Notes: Personnel: Wilson Pickett (vocals); John Tiven (guitar, piano, organ); Jolyon Dantzig (guitar); Mason Casey (harmonica, background vocals); Crispin Ciao (saxophone); Larry Etkin (trumpet); Sky Williams (keyboards); Sally Tiven, Muzz Skillings (bass); Simon Kirke, Todd Snare (drums, percussion); Eddie Kramer (tambourine); Billie Ray Martin, Charlie Feldman, Theresa Williams, Lou Benjamin, Julia Schell, M, Mitch Weismann (background vocals). Recorded at Studio 900, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Jon Tiven. IT'S HARDER NOW was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance. Wilson Pickett's only '90s release proved this soul legend still had the goods when it came to maintaining his legacy of soul shouting. Produced by Jon Tiven (who's also worked with the equally legendary Don Covay), IT'S HARDER NOW falls deep under the shadow of Memphis/Muscle Shoals soul right down to the Staples-flavored "It Ain't Easy" and the horn-driven "Stone Crazy World." Unlike comeback albums by artists of Pickett's stature where the performer merely shows up, the Wickett Pickett put his fingerprints all over this sizzling collection right down to his co-writing almost half the material and punctuating songs with his trademark yowl. Playing up his randy ladies man image (whose admirers include Eddie Murphy), Pickett includes such risquT material as the pounding, "Nutbush City Limits"-inspired "All About Sex" and chugging mash note "What's Under That Dress?" The inclusion of a few blues numbers also comes off well, particularly the smoldering title track and the slashing "Better Him Than Me." Other highlights include the infectious "Bad People" and the bittersweet "Soul Survivor," a worthy successor to Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" where Pickett pays homage to fellow legends including Covay, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack, Joe Tex, and Aretha Franklin.
Q (1/00, p.122) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Pickett's voice still oozes power and passion....and [his] band sounds as if they're straight out of Muscle Shoals....[he] still sounds like the world's most lethal loverman..." CMJ (11/8/99, p.23) - "...proves that the singer has retained every last bit of his raspy, throaty charm, and that his 10-year break hasn't dampened his spirits....he sounds better than ever..." Vibe (11/99, p.186) - "...sounding so focused, meaty and robust. The best songs here...regain the confidence and swagger of classic Pickett, setting his raw, powerful bark atop sturdy arrangements built on old-school organ, horns and a gutbucket rhythm section..." Living Blues (1-2/00, pp.75-6) - "...[it's] gratifying to encounter his throaty, soul-searing scream attacking frsh material....captures Pickett's notorious persona vividly....It's marvelous to have the Wicked One back in studio action..."
One of the best of the '60s soul shouters, he could scream up a sweat storm of sanctimonious rhythm & blues. Among the Wicked Pickett's hits, "In The Midnight Hour," "Funky Broadway" and "Mustang Sally" are responsible for launching countless roadhouse bands. Pickett died of a heart attack in early 2006.
Also Appears On:
Alexander, Arthur Brown, James Burke, Solomon Carr, James Clay, Otis Cocker, Joe Commitments Conley, Arthur Covay, Don Dorsey, Lee Ernest, King Floyd, Eddie Green, Al (Vocals) Hinton, Eddie Johnson, Syl Jones, Booker T. King, Ben E. Little Buster Mayer, Nathaniel McClain, Mighty Sam Patterson, Bobby (R&B) Redding, Otis Sam & Dave Sledge, Percy Small Faces (The) Stewart, Rod Style Council (The) Taylor, Johnnie Tex, Joe Thomas, Carla Thomas, Rufus Washington, Gino Who (The) Womack, Bobby Wright, O.V.
Brown, James Burke, Solomon Charles, Ray Cooke, Sam Harris, Wynonie Kenner, Chris Price, Lloyd Richard, Little Turner, Big Joe Wilson, Jackie
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