Wilson, Al

Band members               Related acts

- Al Wilson -- vocals




- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Searching for the Dolphins

Company: Soul City

Catalog: SCS 92006

Year: 1969

Country/State: Meridian, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: still has some shrink wrap on it

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5310

Price: $8.00


Born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi Al Wilson's musical roots can be traced to church.  By the time he was in his teens he was singing in his local church and leading a gospel group.  Wilson's family moved to Southern California when he was in his teens.  Graduating high school Wilson taught himself the drums, splitting his time between a series of menial day jobs and club dates.  In 1955 Wilson scored  a job as a member of Johnny 'Legs' Harris and the Statesmen.  Wilson spent his next four years touring with The Statesmen, but in his early 20s decided on a change in direction.  Joining the Navy he found himself singing in a service choir.  Following a two year enlistment in 1961 Wilson returned to Los Angeles Wilson deciding to give music a shot.  Joining The Jewels, followed by stints with The Rollers and The Souls, his initial break came in 1966 when Wilson attracted the attention of agent Marc Gordon.  Gordon subsequently helped him score a contract with Johnny Rivers' Soul City label.



Some folks are enthusiastic proponents for Al Wilson's 1968 debut, but to my ears "Searching for the Dolphins" was simply too MOR to be of much interest.  Produced by Johnny Rivers, a quick look at the writers (material by Burt Bacharach, Fred Neil, Rivers, Jimmy Webb, etc.) served to underscore the fact this wasn't a soul LP, rather a pop set.  On the other hand if you were into The 5th Dimension, or Rivers solo career this was probably up your alley.  That was unfortunate since Wilson had a really nice voice.  In spite of the lame material and sacharine MOR arrangements his talents occasionally managed to creep out - check out his covers of Jerry Butler's 'I Stand Accused'  and Jimmy Webb's 'Do What You Gotta Do'.  Released as a single  'Do What You Gotta Do' b/w 'What Love Is' (Soul City catalog number SCR 761)  charted, while the follow-up 'The Snake' b/w 'Getting Ready for Tomorrow' (Soul City catalog number SCR 767) provided Wilson with a top-40 hit.


"Searching for the Dolphins" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Dolphins   (Fred Neil) - 3:41

2.) By the Time I Get To Phoenix   (Jim Webb) - 3:15

3.) I Stand Accused   (William Butler - Jerry Butler) - 3:30

4.) Summer Rain   (James Hendricks) - 3:42

5.) Do What You Gotta Do   (Jim Webb) - 3:34


(side 2)
1.) The Snake   (Oscar Brown Jr.) - 3:32

2.) Who Could Be Lovin' You (Other Than Me)   (William Hutchinson) - 3:05

3.) Poor Side of Town   (Johnny Rivers - Lou Adler) - 3:52

4.) Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 3:13

5.) This Guy's In Love with You   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 4:13

6.) Brother, Where Are You   (Oscar Brown Jr.) - 3:42


In the wake of the album's success Soul City released a non-LP track as Wilson's third single (though the flip side was lifted from "Searching for the Dolphins":


- 'Lodi' b/w 'By the time I Get To Phoenix' (Soul City catalog number SCR 775)




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