Al Wilson, a soul singer and songwriter who had a number of 1970s hits, including “Show and Tell,” died April 21 of kidney failure at in Fontana, Calif. He was 68.
“He was always singing,” said his son Tony Wilson. “He would call me in the middle of the night with a new song that he had written.”
Wilson was born in Meridian, Miss. He sang in the church choir as a boy and had his own spiritual singing quartet. His family moved to San Bernardino in 1958 and he found work as a mail carrier, office clerk and janitor.
He toured for four years with the group Johnny “Legs” Harris and the Statesmen before joining the Navy. Following a two-year stint, he moved to Los Angeles and played with the Jewels and their successor group, the Rollers. A drummer, he also worked with the instrumental group the Souls.
In 1966, he was spotted by manager Marc Gordon, who introduced him to singer Johnny Rivers, who signed him to his Soul City label. Wilson’s first single, “The Snake” in 1968, was a hit and was followed by “Do What You Gotta Do.”
“Show and Tell” was released in 1973 and the next year was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart.
Wilson charted with several other 1970s singles, including “La La Peace Song,” “I’ve Got a Feeling (We’ll Be Seeing Each Other Again)” and “Count the Days.”
In addition to his son, Wilson is survived by his wife, Patricia, two daughters, a brother, three sisters and 13 grandchildren.