; Tangled Up In Blue: Wilson Pickett and the birth of Southern Rock

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wilson Pickett and the birth of Southern Rock

Wilson Pickett died today. Pickett did a lot of recording down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In fact, just about anybody who played Rhythm and Blues in the sixties recorded in Muscle Shoals at one time or another. While all of the recording artists were black, all of the session players were white. Not only were they white, but they were very conservative clean cut looking guys.

I was watching a program on CMT the other day called Revolution and it was basically about the history of Southern Rock. According to the guy who ran the studio at that time, Duane Allman got his start in Muscle Shoals as a session player. He showed up at the studio with long hair and funny looking clothes. Most people thought he was just a weird hippie. They didn't give him a job, so Duane just set up a tent outside of the place and eventually they gave in and hired him. One day they all decided to go out and get something to eat. Since it didn't look good in those days to have a black guy or a guy with long hair go out and eat with white guys, Duane and Wilson stayed back in the studio. That's when Duane talked Pickett into covering the Beatles tune "Hey Jude". Not only was the record a hit, but Duane's guitar playing on the record was also a hit. According to the guys on that show, that recording was the birth of Southern Rock. Everyone was so impressed with Duane's playing that they encouraged him to form a band. That band would of course become the Allman Brothers Band.


Blogger Raizor's Edge said...

Wilson will be buried in Louisville on Saturday (the 28th). He was born in Virginia, lived in New Jersey, recorded in Alabama, and died in New York, but he'll be buried in Kentucky.

Reason: his mother is buried here.

I'll post information about the funeral as the local news covers it.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Blue Turtle said...

Do you know what shocks me the most? ... his age. I know I see it in print: 64. But that would make him in his early 20s when he recorded Mustang Sally -- and, see,THAT does not make sense. How could that voice and delivery be such a young person?

The music industry really does not function to preserve great music.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Great post, Dean. Sorry that I just got around to seeing it.

My dad was friends with some of the Muscle Shoals musicians and even took guitar lessons from Jimmy Johnson when he was in high school. Jimmy still goes to the same church as my folks.

Duane lived in a shack on a pond on the edge of Muscle Shoals while he was there. It didn't have electricity, and he would just sit around playing his acoustic while there. He had to keep his electrics and amps back at the studio.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

Whoa. Rex, that is some awesome information. Please some time in the future share some more Muscle Shoals stories.

7:56 PM  

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