The career of the immeasurably influential Jackie Wilson approached a crossroads on December 12, 1970. The brilliant performer and distinguished vocal stylist entered the Billboard R&B chart for the 42nd time in 12 years with the great “(I Can Feel Those Vibrations) This Love Is Real.” It would become his 16th, and final, Top 10 soul single.
The song, which was also a dancefloor favourite, was part of an album of the same name which didn’t chart, but stands tall as an admirable late entry in Wilson’s catalog. The LP was again produced by the accomplished Chicago soul man Carl Davis, and had a deeply soulful feel thanks in no small part to the presence of the Funk Brothers.
Added Motown ingredients
The Motown session giants, including James Jamerson, Benny Benjamin and Earl Van Dyke, were on board for the album and this first single, written by Jack Daniels and Daniel Moore. That pair also contributed the equally strong and excellently orchestrated “Think About The Good Times.” Engineering was by Bruce Swedien, who would later earn an extraordinary 13 Grammys as a longtime confidant of Quincy Jones, notably as the engineer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.
Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites — themselves fast emerging as a soul force from Chicago — offered “Let This Be A Letter (To My Baby)” and the familiar “Love Uprising,” which the Chi-Lites also recorded. Wilson scored a further Top 20 soul hit from the album with “Love Is Funny That Way.” His last R&B Top 40 entry followed soon afterwards with “You Got Me Walking.”
“(I Can Feel Those Vibrations) This Love Is Real” entered the R&B chart at No.43, and progressed to No.9, although it peaked at No.56 on the Hot 100. “This swinger was worth waiting for,” avowed Billboard. It certainly was, but the only shame was that marked the end of an era for Jackie Wilson.
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