Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just What I Need Today

Today, I thought I might just post one of those unforgettable tunes that accompany the lives of us all. Those tunes which you feel compelled to return to once and again. Which you won't easily become tired listening to. Just what I needed today. This is one of those tunes that accompany my life. And it even comes without vocals.

Congress LP # CS-7000 (1968)
You find the tune on the beautiful but little-known LP »The Greatest Little Soul Band in the Land«, released on Congress in September 1969.
Behind the LP was J.J. Jackson (Jerome Louis Jackson), born in the Bronx (or, according to others, in Brooklyn) and »one of the most inter- esting obscure figures of '60s soul« as Richie Unterberger qualified him in the AMG to R&B and Soul. From 1966 onwards, Jackson was recording in the UK with British musicians. And indeed, his »Greatest Little Soul Band« you can hear on this album is an all-out British band (with one Jamaican member), and their LP was recorded at the De Lane Lea Studios in London.

Well, I won't make many words today. Suffice it to say that J.J. Jackson's 1969 Congress LP is a very nice mix of instrumentals and vocal songs, quite varied in style and much to the jazzy side of R&B. At least one of the songs, »Fat, Black, And Together«, was also released as a single (see here). Alan Walsh, from London's Melody Maker, wrote about Jackson's »liaison« and »amalgam« of Jazz and Soul, and he was right about that. And he finished his notes on the back cover of the LP by saying: »As a musician friend said when I played him acetates of the music on this album: "It's like George Gershwin writing for Otis Redding." Need I say more?«

One monster track from this LP is the first tune, a six-minute instrumental version, of the famous »Tobacco Road« (written back in 1960 by John D. Loudermilk from North Carolina, but not much noticed until it became a trans-Atlantic hit for the Nashville Teens in summer 1964. I can assure you, this song, though often recorded and adapted to many musical styles over the years, doesn't become much better than in this big bandish, jazzy soul-version by J.J. Jackson and his fellows. Enjoy!

J.J. Jackson & The Greatest Little Soul Band: »Tobacco Road« from the Congress LP # CS-7000 (1969):

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for leaving the link to this post, H.M.S. - I probably would never have heard this otherwise. Such a great, swinging arrangment! Every once in a while I, too, like to go back to some of the songs that make up 'the soundtrack to my life.'