Al Wilson Searching for Dolphins: The Complete Soul City Recordings and More 1967-1971
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- Released: March 11, 2008
- Originally Released: 2009
- Label: Kent Records Uk
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1225 stars out of 5 -- "[A] lost classic, sung with monumental power and depth, fully fit for airing alongside DUSTY IN MEMPHIS."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.934 stars out of 5 -- "[A] breathtaking piece of work....[Wilson] sculpts statuesque soul that taps into the same well of transcendental meditation that feeds Terry Callier and Jon Lucien's art."
- 1.The Dolphins
- 2.By The Time I Get To Phoenix
- 3.I Stand Accused
- 4.Summer Rain
- 5.Do What You Gotta Do
- 6.The Snake
- 7.Who Could Be Lovin' You (Other Than Me)
- 8.Poor Side of Town
- 9.Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)
- 10.This Guy's In Love With You
- 11.Brother Where Are You
- 12.When You Love (You're Loved Too)
- 13.Now I Know What Love Is
- 14.Gettin' Ready For Tomorrow
- 16.Sometimes A Man Must Cry
- 17.Mississippi Woman
- 18.You Do The Right Things
- 19.Bachelor Man
- 20.I Hear You Knocking
- 21.Sugar Cane Girl
- 22.Falling (In Love With You)
Recording information: 1967-1971.
Johnny Rivers, the L.A. blue-eyed soul singer, signed Al Wilson to his own Soul City imprint and produced Wilson's debut Searching for the Dolphins, encouraging Wilson to pursue a lush sound that encompassed mellow Californian pop, folk, jazz, rock & roll, and soul, something that was sonically closer to what Rivers was cutting at the time, but hardly a pop sellout. After all, one of the highlights here is Wilson's first single (and only U.K. hit), a hip, swinging version of Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "The Snake," a groovy dance number that deservedly became a Northern soul staple, and it's not the only funky moment here, as it has a rival in a version of Holland-Dozier-Holland's "Shake Me Wake Me (When It's Over)." Also on this album is a slow-burning, late-night reading of Jerry Butler/William Butler/Curtis Mayfield's "I Stand Accused," and the terrific "Who Could Be Lovin' You (Other Than Me)," an early Willie Hutch song that strikes a precise balance between the aforementioned funky moments and the luxurious singer/songwriter material that comprises the rest of the record. The title song is an allusion to the Fred Neil '60s standard "The Dolphins," and Wilson also sings two Jimmy Webb songs ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Do What You Gotta Do") and a pair of Johnny Rivers hits ("Summer Rain," "Poor Side of Town,") all of which have a smooth, rolling feel as reminiscent of folk-pop as it is of soul. All taken together, Searching for the Dolphins is a unique record, a place where many divergent strands in '60s pop converge in a way that is perhaps easier to appreciate now than it was then. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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