Cherry Red’s Hot Shot Records imprint recently delivered another musical Eruption – this time courtesy of the solo debut of that group’s volcanic onetime lead singer, Precious Wilson. On the Race Track has been expanded with three bonus tracks for this edition.
Founded in the United Kingdom in 1969 by members of African and Caribbean descent, the group (originally named Silent Eruption) had a major breakthrough in 1975 at the U.K. RCA Soul Search Contest. Eruption won the competition and gained a contract with the major label, yielding the single “Let Me Take You Back in Time.” But the song penned by lead singer Lindel Leslie and produced by Billy Jackson failed to gain much commercial traction, and Eruption returned to the trials of the road.
In Germany, Eruption was spotted by a talent scout for Frank Farian. Though he would much later become notorious as the producer behind Milli Vanilli, Farian was then best known as the voice of Boney M. Farian enlisted the five-member group now fronted by Precious Wilson (a backup singer promoted to lead vocalist in 1975 after Leslie departed the ranks) to become part of Boney M’s live band on a European tour. A new deal with Hansa Records led to the single release of the raucous floor-filler “Party, Party,” but Eruption’s second single, a cover of Ann Peebles’ southern soul tour de force “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” became its most enduring hit. The epic disco reinvention became a U.K. top 5/U.S. top 20 hit in 1978 and introduced the world to the Jamaican-born Wilson’s formidable pipes.
After leaving Eruption, Wilson was offered a chance to join Boney M., but declined to pursue her own solo career. She debuted with the single release of “Hold On, I’m Coming,” a disco version of the Sam and Dave favorite. But Farian didn’t save the song for Wilson’s own record; instead, he placed it on Boney M.’s Oceans of Fantasy LP. In October 1980, a proper solo LP debut, On the Race Track, arrived under Wilson’s own name blending soul, R&B and disco flavors.
Recorded in Munich with an array of Europe’s top session talents, it featured a couple more very familiar songs given updated, disco treatments including Bert Berns’ “Cry to Me,” a 1962 hit for Solomon Burke, and Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” a 1973 chart-topper for Roberta Flack. The album also offered Bee Gees-style pop (the shimmering “If I Loved You Less”), the powerful ballad “Stay by My Side,” and three fine original songs co-written by Precious Wilson: the nominal title song “We Are on the Race Track,” “Together Forever,” and “Funky Dancer.”
Three bonus cuts have been appended to Hot Shot’s reissue, which is housed in a Super Jewel Box: “Hold On, I’m Coming,” plus extended 12-inch versions of the Wilson-led Eruption favorites “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and “One Way Ticket (To the Blues).” Nick Robbins has remastered, and Casper Janssen’s new liner notes place the album within the context of Wilson’s entire career. Look for Precious Wilson’s On the Race Track at the links below from Cherry Red and Hot Shot Records!
- We Are on the Race Track
- Cry to Me
- Stop Runnin’
- Stay by My Side
- You Ain’t Got Love
- If I Loved You Less
- Together Forever
- Mr. Pilot Man
- Funky Dancer
- Killing Me Softly with His Song
- Hold On, I’m Coming (Single Version) (Hansa single 100 803, 1979)
- I Can’t Stand the Rain (12-Inch Long Version) (Hansa/Ariola 12-inch single PRO 7686, 1978)
- One Way Ticket (To the Blues) (12-Inch Disco Version) (Hansa 12-inch single 600 065, 1979)