Who was/is J. J. Jackson ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

J. J. Jackson

But It's Alright

J. J. Jackson

But It's Alright


Tipping the scales at 285 pounds, J.J. Jackson was a Bronx-born round mound of soul sound who traveled all the way over to England to cut his biggest hit, But It's Alright. The relentless number sounded more like it was laid down in New York or Los Angeles. J.J.'s trumpet-heavy arrangement was built around Terry Smith's devastatingly simple guitar riff with Jackson tearing it up vocally in front of the whole shebang.

Jerome Louis Jackson attended City College of New York for a couple of years before plunging full-time into the music business. With fellow soul singer Sidney Barnes, he wrote material for Mary Wells (My Mind's Made Up), Inez Foxx (I've Come To One Conclusion), and The Shangri-Las (Long Live Our Love) before venturing to Great Britain and teaming with guitarist Pierre Tubbs, a veteran of the English bands The Chances and The Jeeps, to write But It's Alright. Although J.J.'s London studio band was entirely local (Smith and tenor saxist Dick Morrissey later formed the jazz-rock band If), you'd never know it from its authentic R&B sound.

Back in New York, Jackson laid the tape on Nate McCalla, a well-connected associate of Roulette kingpin Morris Levy. McCalla had launched the self-named Calla label in 1965. Initially distributed by Cameo-Parkway, Calla tasted immediate success with Betty Lavette's anguished Let Me Down Easy. But It's Alright leaped to #4 on the R&B charts, stopping at #22 pop. J.J.'s Calla output wasn't all he did with producer Lew Futterman; he arranged half of jazz organist Brother Jack McDuff's '67 Atlantic album 'Tobacco Road.' Down in Memphis, Eddie Floyd cut a blazing cover of But It's Alright for his Stax LP 'Knock On Wood.'

Humbly christening his crew The Greatest Little Soul Band In The Land, J.J. hit again for Calla in early 1967 with the torrid I Dig Girls. His Calla LP front-billed both hits and featured a sizzling Come See Me (I'm Your Man), a Jackson/Tubbs theme that The Pretty Things had scored with in England, as well as two instrumentals spotlighting J.J.'s arranging and organ skills. Four Walls (Three Windows And Two Doors), a Jackson/Windsor King copyright, was his last Calla R&B hit in mid-'67.

J.J. moved over to Warner Bros.' Loma logo for Down, But Not Out and Too Late in '68, Futterman still producing. The Calla master of But It's Alright hit all over again in 1969 on Warner, peaking at #45 pop. Jackson and his Greatest Little Soul Band In The Land recorded in England for Congress (1969's Fat, Black And Together was presumably autobiographical) and Perception in '70 without making more chart noise.

- Bill Dahl -

Various - Sweet Soul Music

Various - Sweet Soul Music 29 Scorching Classics From 1966

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More information about J. J. Jackson on
J.J. Jackson & Prado Brothers: J.J. Jackson & Prado Brothers (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDJJJP1

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(2016/Chico) 10 tracks. Soul and R&B singer J.J. Jackson scored a top hit with 'But it's alright' in 1966. Now he has recorded some covers of Joe Tex, Percy Mayfield songs, a.o. J.J. Jackson still has a soulful voice, in addition with Igor Prados 'guitar, a...

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