Flight of Fancy

Spanky Wilson – Fancy [Mothers]

Making rare groove mischief in certain clubs of the late 90s and elbowing its way on to Fat City compilation The Main Ingredient, the cold heat of Cream’s psychedelic standard ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ served up as angular soul jazz was the first many knew of soulstress Spanky Wilson.

With a stage name derived from her father’s frequent physical reprimands, Philly born Spanky made her name as a jazz and soul singer in late 60s LA, working with a who’s who of soul and funk greats before moving to Paris and a kind of jobbing jazz obscurity in the 80s, laterly collaborating and touring with Will Holland’s Quantic Soul Orchestra.

Apperaing on the 1970 covers album Let It Be, Wilson’s take on Bobby Gentry’s ‘Fancy’ is a brash, big band affair, taking Gentry’s typically narrative Southern Gothic parable of triumph over adversity into the realm of rapturous dancefloor funk. It’s a kitchen sink arrangement courtesy of producer H.B. Barnum with piano, guitar and drums all tumbling effortlessly into jazzy brass and a euphoric gospel backing that sugars the hard knocks philosophy and shepherds those feet to the ‘floor. 

A dose of tough love for the mind, the body and the soul.

‘Spanky’ featured on the album Let It Be [Mothers Records & the Snarf Company] and is reissued on the Various Artist compilation Super Cool California Soul 2 [Luv N’ Haight].


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