[19] Van Morrison, ‘Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)’

Van Morrison

It’d be difficult to talk about this without mentioning Dexys Midnight Runners. So let’s make this about Dexys Midnight Runners. Their version of ‘Jackie Wilson Said’ was the first single I ever bought, and hence a landmark in the History of Pop. As a callow child, I didn’t get the joke of the Jocky Wilson photo on Top Of The Pops, and also failed to knowingly snigger at Kevin Rowland singing, “real you see” instead of “Reet Petite”. And besides, maybe Jackie Wilson did once say it was “real, you see” or “real”, you see. We’ll never actually know.

What we can say with confidence is Kev says he doesn’t need “no tea” in his cup, while Van doesn’t need coffee. From this, we can extrapolate that it takes a whole lot less to get Kev “wired up”, but I guess we knew that anyway. The DMR version is a tight affair – no surprise with that crazily drilled band – while Morrison and co take it headlong and ramshackle. I’ve a sentimental attachment to the DMR take, obviously, but Van is out on a limb, giving it that extra lick of flame.

Junior flung herself around the room with celtic abandon from first “dup” to last. When I asked her for a more considered view afterwards, her mouth was too full of Rice Krispies to offer a clear assessment. It could’ve been “real you see” or “Reet Petite”.

Advertisements

[3] Jackie Wilson, ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher’

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.