70’s Soul Singer – Al Wilson

No matter where you go in the US you can turn the radio on and listen to classic rock or classic soul. The “classic” music format features a large but limited playlist of songs ranging from the early-1960s through the early-1980s with more emphasis on the earlier hits by artists associated with the loosely-defined “classic era”.

One song that falls into the genre of music is the soul song from the 1970’s called “Show and Tell.” It is still played on radio today due to the singer and songwriter’s style in a blend of earthiness and sophistication. His name was Al Wilson and his wide range of pop & jazz, gospel, rock, blues and funk shows the sensitivity and strength that mark him as an enduring star even in today’s music scene.

al Wilson

It is Al Wilson who has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 68.

Born on 19 June, 1939, in the city of Meridian,Mississippi, Al Wilson showed little interest in education but performed in school plays, sung in talent shows and won first prize in a local art contest. Wilson began his career at the age of 12 leading his own spiritual quartet and singing in the church choir, even performing covers of country and western hits as circumstances dictated. While he was in high school, Wilson and his family relocated to San Bernardino, California, where he worked odd jobs and taught himself to play drums; after graduation he spent four years touring with Johnny Harris and the Statesmen before joining the U.S. Navy and singing with an enlisted men’s chorus.

After the Navy Wilson join several groups including the Jewels, the Rollers and an instrumental group, the Souls.

In 1966, he was spotted by manager Marc Gordon, who introduced him to singer Johnny Rivers, who signed him to his Soul City label. Wilson’s first single, “The Snake” in 1968, was a hit and was followed by “Do What You Gotta Do” in 1969.

Wilson largely disappeared from sight until 1973, when he issued the platinum-selling Weighing In — the album’s success was spurred by the shimmering “Show and Tell,” a Johnny Mathis castoff that sold well over a million copies.

Wilson charted with several other 1970s singles, including “La La Peace Song,” “I’ve Got a Feeling (We’ll Be Seeing Each Other Again)” and “Count the Days.”

In 1999 Wilson was honored by the California State Assembly in recognition of the state’s Juneteenth Holiday, for being a Freedom Fighter for Musical Arts along with fellow entertainers Joe Vincent and Rickey Ivie.


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