What the hell does Nancy Wilson sing anyways?


Growing up, I had a very very odd relationship with Nancy Wilson.

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during my normal daily routine, as a child, she was on KBLX (affectionately known to Bay Area natives as KBLAX for it’s negro friendly adult contemporary playlist) warbling a cover of The Emotions “Don’t Ask My Neighbors” doing that distinctive, and sometimes annoying elongation of every damned vowel in a word it seems…

…. the on holiday weekends we spent at my uncles in Clearlake her early work with Cannonball Adderley played on a Delco cassette deck in a Cutlass Supreme Brougham… now only as an adult I get that “Guess Who I Saw Today” is a song about a wife catching a glimpse of her husband cheating in a metropolis…

….and at my great grandmothers, her big breakthrough pop single “How Glad I am” was around…

About 5 years ago, out of general interest and fond memory I dipped a bit deeper into her recording career, and the schizophrenia continues: A Marvin Gaye cover here (Come Get to This) an awesome breakup ballad hit (Face It Girl, It’s Over)… I think there’s even a cover of “Winchester Cathedral” of all random ass songs to cover in her catalogue.

And well, the only reason I seriously ponder all of this is that, after all she’s an awesome singer… that like someone who confused critics of yore, Dinah Washington, defied serious categorization. Not soley a Jazz, Pop, MOR, Adult Contemporary singer, I guess you can only really categorize her as a soul singer.

So, thank you Nancy Wilson, for forever fucking with our perception of what a “Soul” singer is….

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