Junior greets Jackie Wilson’s warm hug of a record the way everyone should – with finger clicks. Few love songs swing like this. It’s not long before she returns to trying to negotiate her scooter out the back door, but she has time to ask “Who’s singing?” “Jackie Wilson. Can you say ‘Jackie Wilson’?” “I can’t say it.” Jackie wouldn’t be impressed by her lack of application; he’s put his heart, soul and carefully teased quiff into this.
Most of my generation’s radars picked Wilson up as a plasticine hollerer on the revived ‘Reet Petite’, or perhaps on (the first single I ever bought) Dexys Midnight Runners’ Van Morrison cover ‘Jackie Wilson Said’ (“it was real, you see” – nearly, Kev) – but this and ‘I Get The Sweetest Feeling’ seem to have been in my back pocket forever.
The barely contained freneticism of the opening guitar strum is just about kept in check as Wilson gets ever more fervent. ‘…Higher And Higher’ is about the one “in a million girls”, but it’s just as easily a big walloping thank you to the man upstairs. Wilson bursts with passion, voice cracking as he sings with wonder that he never saw disappointment’s face again. It’s so infectious, you can believe it.