We missed last week, but don’t fear, Northern Soul Monday is back with a slithering stomper by Al Wilson. Northern Soul Monday is where we get together and listen to, and learn all about the feature song while we turn the volume way, way up. Are you ready-set-go? Keep the faith and enjoy today’s Northern Soul selection.
This week’s Northern Soul Monday Track is “The Snake” by Al Wilson. The song was originally released by Al Wilson in 1968. It was written by Oscar Brown, a civil-rights activist, in 1963. Lyrically, the song re-tells in music Aesop’s fable “The Farmer and the Viper”. (from Wikipedia)
“The Snake” by Al Wilson
Northern Soul Monday
The Snake tells the story of a kind and tender woman who finds a frozen snake on the ground on her way to work one morning. The snake begs the woman to take it home and take care of it. She obliges and takes the snake to her home and puts it by the fireplace with a silk blanket, some honey, and some milk. When she gets home from work later that evening, she finds that the snake is now warm and revived. Feeling happy for the snake’s recovery, she picks it up and gives it a tight hug and kisses it on the head. However, the snake is actually vicious and gives the woman a bite, fatally poisoning her. She asks the snake why it bit her even though she took it in and cared for it, to which it responds: “Shut up silly woman! You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!” (from Wikipedia)
The song became a big hit almost a decade later, in both the United States and the UK, due to the exposure “The Snake” received in the UK Northern Soul scene. The track was re-released in August 1975. By September, the very next month, it had reached #41 in the UK Singles Chart. The power of the 70’s Northern Soul scene was legendary for many artists who were underappreciated in the 60’s, usually most underappreciated in the country they recorded and released their music in.
The success of “The Snake” on the northern soul nightclub circuit led to it being ranked #4 of 500 northern soul singles and for the track to appear on over 30 pop and northern soul compilation albums.
“The Snake” was re-released in 1989 as a B-side to a re-release of “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” by The Main Ingredient. Al Wilson’s recording of “The Snake” was also featured in a Lambrini television advertisement in the UK. (from Wikipedia)
“Do the Lambrini” – featuring “The Snake”
What do you think of “The Snake”? I definitely think its one of my favorites (so far).
Thanks for joining me for another edition of Northern Soul Mondays. Be sure to check back here next week to see who we will be spinning, and take another step back into Northern Soul History with us. Until then, Keep the Faith.