In 1961, Jackie Wilson recorded a tribute album to Al Jolson, “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet,” which included the album liner notes below – and which were the only liner notes he ever wrote for an album:
To my way of thinking, the greatest entertainer of this or any other era is the late Al Jolson. Even as a child, I can remember the thrill I always experienced whenever I heard him sing. I guess I have just about every recording he’s ever made, and I rarely missed listening to him on the radio. It’s truly unfortunate that television couldn’t have benefited by his talents. Regrettably, I’ve never had the privilege of seeing him perform in person. But even to this day, I am still one of his most avid fans.
During the three years I’ve been making records, I’ve had the ambition to do an album of songs which, to me, represent the great Jolson heritage. I never thought that this ambition would take shape this soon, but thanks to my manager, Nat Tarnopol, without whose faith and foresight I might never be writing this now, my dream has finally become a reality.
With the assistance of conductor-arranger Dick Jacobs, we set about selecting the songs to be recorded. The problem wasn’t so much the choice of only twelve songs, but rather which twelve of the many hundreds of songs that are so closely identified with Jolson should be included. Once this decision was made, the rest was comparatively easy, and the result is “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!”
In no way is this album an attempt to imitate Jolson’s style, nor is it an attempt to duplicate his incomparable way with a song. This is simply my humble tribute to the one man I admire most in this business. With the sincere hope that my contribution will in some way help keep the heritage of Al Jolson alive through the great songs he left behind.
Let me here and now extend my deep appreciation to all those involved in making this album a proud moment for me. I hope you like it!
Jackie Wilson suffered a stroke and collapsed on stage on September 29th 1975, at the age of 41. He was performing on the Dick Clark Traveling Road Show while singing “Lonely Teardrops.” He remained in a coma for the next 8 1/2 years and passed away on January 21, 1984.
You Made Me Love You
Rock-a-bye Your Baby
My Yiddishe Momme
Keep Smiling at Trouble
For Me and My Gal
California Here I Come
This is a clip of Dick Clark discussing Wilson after he died and showing one of his early performances: