The Good: Some truly great songs
The Bad: Short, Has only two songs not on a superior compilation.
The Basics: In the Midnight Hour And Other Hits offers fewer tracks than The Very Best Of Wilson Pickett and the two tracks this has are not worth missing the extras on the other.
Wilson Pickett, I am quickly discovering, is a musical artist whose works are more commonly found in compilations than in original albums. As a result, one of the best things I can think of to do as a reviewer who is listening to remarkably similar playlists over and over again – as I am right now – is help consumer differentiate between the ones they should pick up and can pass by.
In The Midnight Hour And Other Hits is a Wilson Pickett compilation that fans can avoid. The album The Very Best Of Wilson Pickett offers all but two of the songs on this compilation – “Stagger Lee” and “Don’t Fight It.” Those two songs are not a reasonable trade listeners get for the other eight songs found on the superior anthology. Like all worthwhile Pickett compilations, this one features “In The Midnight Hour” and “Land Of 1000 Dances.”
With only ten songs occupying twenty-eight minutes, this is an anemic Wilson Pickett compilation which displays his talents as a singer more than anything else. With Pickett’s versions of “Hey Jude” and “Mustang Sally,” the album is very much a collection of some of his best-known musical presentations. But what this collection lacks is spark; it’s all predictable and has none of his later works which illustrate growth or change.
For those who have not heard the works of Wilson Pickett, he is a 1960s – 70s (primarily) r&b singer whose energetic and sometimes screamed vocals are accompanied by brass instruments, bass and usually pounding percussion. Songs like “In The Midnight Hour” and “Funky Broadway” are soulful dance jams which put Pickett on the musical map for his enthusiasm and vocally energetic style. Pickett is like James Brown in his sound in many ways.
Most of Pickett’s songs are about desire and here is where In The Midnight Hour And Other Hits falls down. The song selection is predictable and banal, exactly what one would expect from a Pickett compilation. Even “Don’t Fight It,” which is on this compilation and very few others, underwhelms with its lines like “You'd better get on up & get the groove / You know what, baby? I like the way you move / You do the thing like you ought to be, all right / So don't fight it . . .” In other words, including this song on the compilation says nothing that other songs, like “Land Of 1000 Dances” did not already say.
In other words, with so many other compilations out there, you can get more for your money than by buying In The Midnight Hour And Other Hits. And while more might not always be better, there are better compilations that have more than this one.
For other works by Wilson Pickett, please check out my reviews of:
The Exciting Wilson Pickett
I'm In Love
The Very Best Of Wilson Pickett
It's Harder Now
For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.