#769: Let’s Work Together (Part 2) by Wilbert Harrison
Wilbert Harrison was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1929. Around 1948 Harrison was drafted into the US Navy. In 1950 he was honorably discharged. After his service as a sailor, Harrison became interested in calypso music and taught himself to play guitar. In 1953, Harrison got a record deal with Rockin’ Records. His first releases on Rockin’ Records had a country-pop sound. He moved to New Jersey and got a record deal in 1954 with Savory Records. Harrison worked with R&B stars Big Maybelle and Screaming Jay Hawkins, the latter whose song, “I Put A Spell On You,” was covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Between 1954 and 1958 Harrison released six 78 RPM singles that were classic R&B. Harrison is best known as a rhythm and blues singer for his #1 hit in the spring of 1959, “Kansas City.” That single had the distinction of being the final song to reach #1 that was released on a 78 RPM record. “Kansas City” stayed on top of the Cashbox R&B charts for five weeks and two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.