Friday, July 8, 2011

Chuck Jackson

I have a friend who lives down in South Carolina and to her “beach music” is as natural as breathing. To me it’s mystery. I listen to what they call “beach music” and I hear middle of the road R & B. So I found an internet radio station that plays beach music all day, I had it on last Friday, all day. I’d been listening to Chuck Jackson the night before and when the DJ said “send in your requests!” I sent off an email saying hey! It’s Canada Day down here and I’m working. Can you play some Chuck Jackson? and lo and behold, not only did he play Chuck Jackson, but he said “This is for David up in Canada where they are observing Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day!” (Now how did he know that?) And he went and played a song called C’est Si Bon. I guess he figures we’re all French up here.

But it proves something. It proves that I was right.

Jackson was a great R & B singer, but he’s not very well remembered. He recorded for Wand, a label owned and operated by Florence Greenberg together with Scepter, and her labels were known for “teenage” music (The Shirelles) and pop music and lightweight R & B (B. J. Thomas, Dionne Warwick). Jackson had 21 songs on the top 100 between 1961 and 1968, including a few duets with Maxine Brown, but none got higher than 23. Only two of those made the top 40 at all.
All these songs come from The Scepter Records Story.

Chuck Jackson:

I Don’t Want To Cry – A breakup song, but the emphasis isn’t on the breakup, it’s on how it will make him feel. A perfect song, perhaps, to reflect a society in which we try to avoid feeling bad at all costs. The arrangement is not so different from what Ben E King was doing back then. From the winter of 1961.
I Wake Up Crying – The sequel? I guess he feels bad after all. Very bad, wallowing in self-pity I’d say. From the fall of 1961.
Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird) – I guess if you read the lyrics you’d think this was nuts. That’s why we don’t just read the lyrics. This is glorious; it’s what great R & B singing is all about. Elvis did this and he did a great vocal, but not like this. The arrangement with organ and the slightly Latin rhythm doesn’t hurt either. From the summer of 1962.
I Keep Forgettin’ – Some odd percussion highlights this tale of post separation adjustment. From the fall of 1962.
Tell Him I’m Not Home – On the surface this is just some dating trauma, but under the surface it’s about honesty, plain and simple.
Beg Me – Not likely. From the summer of 1964.
Since I Don’t Have You – Oft recorded, and a hit for The Skyliners in 1959. From the winter of 1964 / 1965.
The Silencer – The nexus between guns and women, musically a cross between James Bond and The Snake.
We Find Him Guilty – The strangest cheating song ever. The jury doesn’t just convict him, it stomps all over him, Chuck proclaiming his innocence the whole time.
Something You Got – A duet with Maxine Brown. From the summer of 1965.
Daddy’s Home – Ditto. You wouldn’t think this would work as a duet but it does. Originally by Shep & The Limelights, later covered by Jermaine Jackson (no relation, I assume). From the spring of 1967.


Belle said...


Belle said...

How about that for some shaggin'?

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