Mary Wilson’s 1979 self-titled debut solo album is coming back out as an expanded edition containing bonus tracks, remixes, and four tracks she recorded in 1980 with Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon for a follow-up project that never materialized. There’s also “Why Can’t Get All Get Along,” a song she cut with producer Richard Davis in recent years that is being made available here for the first time.
The original album hit two years after the final Supremes lineup of Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Susaye Greene said goodbye with a farewell concert at the Drury Lane Theater in London. Wilson hoped to follow in the footsteps of Diana Ross and establish a career for herself outside of the Supremes, and she worked with producer Hal Davis on a record that largely featured disco songs. But the record hit just as the “Disco Sucks” movement was reaching a zenith with the Disco Demolition Night at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.
This is widely seen today as a movement rooted in racism and homophobia, but it had an impact nonetheless and Mary Wilson was a commercial disaster. Lead-off single “Red Hot” peaked at #95 on the R&B chart and the album failed to enter the Billboard 200 album chart. She began work on a follow-up the next year with producer Gus Dudgeon, but was dropped by Motown after they finished just four songs.
“I was very excited about these four songs,” Wilson wrote in her book Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together. “It wasn’t the formula disco of my first album. Two of the songs were big ballads. The other two were rock & roll in the style of Tina Turner’s mid-Eighties hits; I was certainly ahead of the time.”
Wilson retained ownership of her solo recordings and announced plans for this re-release just days before her sudden death. “I finally decided how to work with Universal, and they are going to release new Mary Wilson recordings,” she said in her last YouTube video. “Yes! At last! At last…Thank you Universal for chiming in with me and helping this come true.”
“Why Can’t We Get Along” is the lone latter-day song on the new edition of Mary Wilson. It was inspired by the political climate that has divided America in recent years.
Mary Wilson: Expanded Edition Tracklist
1. Red Hot
2. I’ve Got What You Need
3. You Make Me Feel So Good
4. (I Love a) Warm Summer Night
5. Pick Up the Pieces
6. You’re the Light That Guides My Way
7. Midnight Dancer
The Red Hot Singles
8. Red Hot 7” Single Version
9. Red Hot 12” Disco Version – Remixed by Rusty Garner
10. Red Hot 12” B-Side Promo Version – Remixed by Rusty Garner lly
The Gus Dudgeon Sessions
11. You Dance My Heart Around the Stars
12. Love Talk
13. Save Me
14. Green River
The Richard Davis Sessions – previously unreleased
15. Why Can’t We All Get Along Single version