I know some soul and jazz folk who “don’t get” NANCY WILSON. They suggest her unique style is a little too antiseptic… too sophisticated! Equally there are plenty (including me) who revere the Ohio born song bird whose vocal mastery is admired across the jazz, blues, soul and pop genres. Those fans will be delighted to learn that Caroline/SoulMusic Records have just reissued four of her prime time Capitol long players across twofers.
The first double pairs 1967’s ‘Just For You’ with ’68’s ‘Lush Life’. The collection features 26 tracks, five of which are bonuses (tunes that were contemporaneous singles). Like most of Ms Wilson’s albums from this period the repertoire is a mix of jazz standards, classy originals and covers of pop and soul hits. In that last category here, enjoy versions of ‘Alfie’, Mercy Mercy, Mercy’ and ‘Sunny’. Nancy even makes a decent fist of the quirky UK pop hit ‘Winchester Cathedral’ but with people like Billy May and Oliver Nelson handling the arrangements, you’d expect nothing less! Standout on the collection is ‘Rain Sometimes’ which perfectly distils the art of Nancy Wilson.
The second new twofer also pairs albums from ’67 and ’68… ‘Welcome To My Love’ and ‘Easy’. Amongst the many highlights is a churchy reading of Carole King’s ‘No Easy Way Down’ but the real standout is the spine-tingling, classic tear-jerker ‘Face It Girl It’s Over’. If anyone doubts Nancy Wilson’s soul credentials, just play them this; they’ll soon understand. The set also features, as a bonus, ‘The End Of Our Love’. This originally appeared as the B-side to the UK release of ‘Face It’ and as was the odd Northern way back in the day, the track became absolutely massive on the Northern soul scene. Nancy Wilson…. a Northern soul icon… who’d have thought it!