THE SNAKE

Al Wilson

Soul City 767, 1968
Billboard: #27

Al Wilson hadn't created much heat with his first single for Johnny Rivers' Soul City label, a version of Jimmy Webb's "Do What You Gotta Do", previously recorded by Rivers himself on Rewind, so the next step was to turn up the BTUs, and the source material was a song by the High Priest of Hip himself, Mr. Oscar Brown, Jr., which Brown had cut way back in 1963. "The Snake" updates the old Aesop fable about the scorpion and the frog with an overlay of serious (and possibly even slightly misogynistic) sexual innunendo. Wilson sings all this like a fusion of Lou Rawls and Tom Jones, producer Rivers surrounds it in high-energy L.A. studio-rock, and it works splendidly well, though Wilson was unable to score another major hit until "Show and Tell" in 1973.

Where can I get this on CD?
Probably the most accessible source is Dick Bartley Presents Collectors' Essentials: On the Radio, Volume Five (Varèse Vintage 302 066 185 2).


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Copyright © 2001 by Charles G. Hill
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