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Doggin’ Around – Jackie Wilson

This all started with a comical discussion in my office about the definition(s) of the phrase “Doggin’ around” so that night I circulated to the others this great Jackie Wilson track. The point about the track – apart from it being terrific – is that nowadays – especially in the UK – it’s a lesser known JW offering. Over here, if you mention Jackie Wilson, people think of three tracks only: "Reet Petit", "Higher and Higher" and "I get the Sweetest Feeling" (plus the songs where he gets an honourable mention, Van Morrison’s (or Dexy’s) “Jackie Wilson says” or the Commodores’ wonderful “Night Shift”.)

The next day three of the people I sent it to said they liked the song (and the accompanying meanderings) and asked me to do a track a day. So I did and then more people wanted to be put on the email list and then it was suggested we put these on a blog so we did.

The idea also was not to pick the most famous tracks by each artist but rather maybe some of the often overlooked tracks and so on. And sometimes the ramblings get a bit fanciful or heavily autobiographical, but they said they liked that too.

It started off being very much soul based in content but then it went all over the place. It also explains why I sometimes seem to be having a dialogue with someone – let’s call him Stephen – who is a kind of compilation of everymanandwoman who fed back.

So “Doggin' around” by Jackie Wilson was where it started (maybe where a lot of things started).

And “Doggin Around” also does make one ruminate on the various meanings of “doggin around” (and even prefigures the modern connotations).

First there is the official and respectable definition from the time when it came out – 1960 – flirting (sniffing around other potential mates of the opposite sex like dogs do) but I’ve no doubt that the sexy Jackie is aware of the other potential more charged nuances of the word "dogging" (ie being promiscuous and even (by subliminal implication) doing it “doggy style”).

No wonder Jackie’s upset:

“Cause, I can't take it much longer

My heart is getting weak, it's not getting any stronger

You keep me upset, my heads in a whirl …..”

Of course, although “Doggin’ Around” is the title, Jackie dilutes the song by actually singing

"You’d better stop doggin’ me around..."

And great singing it is.

Though as I’m not sure that this latter insertion of the word “me” makes any sense, (ie: messin’ me around) I think the slight disruptio of the phrasing of the song is merely to ensure it gets passed the US censor.

The meaning concerned with promiscuity is clear nevertheless:

“Now you know you go out nights, to have yourself a ball

sometimes you don't make it home at all”

But it’s worth noting that Jackie does a great job of alternating passion with tender desperation all in one sentence

“You better STOP YEEEAAAAAH...." (then soft) "....doggin’ me around"

cause if you don’t stop AAAAAHHHHAHHAA I AM gonna put you down...." (tender again)

So it’s true love verses erotic passion and a classic domestic tragedy. Poor Jackie. Just as well he’s not alive today or he might be out in the nearest countryside car park with his torch.

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