Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wilson Pickett: A Funky Situation [Big Tree, 1978]
Pickett's halfhearted disco move won't go over at the Loft, but it sure beats anything he did for RCA. "Changed my clothes, but I didn't change my soul," he assures us, and that's it exactly. The production (by Rick Hall and Don Daily) and especially the horn arrangements (by Harrison Calloway, Jr.) are dense and eventful rather than overblown and crowded, and unlike so much disco they're designed only to kick ass, never to engulf and wash over. What's more, Pickett is singing again--rarely does he resort to the random scream. His own "Lay Me Like You Hate Me" is a startling distillation of what he's always really been about, and though most of the other songs are just ordinary-plus, they've been chosen with obvious care--no song-factory seconds here. B