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GEORGE JACKSON

DON T COUNT ME OUT THE FAME RECORDINGS VOLUME 1

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Kent (CDKEND363)

Search Your Heart, I Can't Do Without You, Greedy Over You, 3-F Blues, Getting The Bills, Let's Stop Hurting Each other, Bite The Hand That Feeds You, I Can't Leave Your Love Alone, I Want You So Bad, Stuck On Her, Don't Count Me Out, You Can't Make It No Better, Talking In Your Sleep, Statue Of Soul, The Feeling Is Right, Greasy Two By Four, You're At The Right Table, Let's Make A Deal, Back In Your Arms, Love Without A Future, She's Rated G, You're  Gonna Need Me Again, Evidence, I Can't Love Without You.

Fame Records issued only two singles by George Jackson. Neither were hits but his enormous success lay in writing hit after giant hit for other artists like Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett, Candi Staton, James Carr, Doris Duke, ZZ Hill, Johnny Taylor, Denise LaSalle, Roy C, Jimmy Hughes and Willie Hightower.

It was actually George Jackson's strength as a songwriter that prevented him from becoming a star in his own right. Why put it out yourself and risk the song bombing when someone like Wilson Picket would make it a certain hit? He was perfectly happy for others to get the glory as long as he got the money! In a 2011 interview he said "I was never that worried as long as royalties were coming in. Wilson Pickett and Clarence Carter and whoever was sure to get their records played when there was no guarantee mine would. Even getting the flip on a Pickett 45 was better for me than putting out a record of my own and not getting a hit. I would have liked mine to do better but it wasn't that big of a deal".

Jackson made these stunning recordings (mostly at Muscle Shoals) not just as demos but as possible own releases and they are, in most cases, the finished article. The few that were demos proper or dry runs may be lacking an overdub here and there, but maybe not - they all sound so good. Seriously, I've never heard a soul album with as many powerful songs. There are no fillers - how could there be with material as strong and sassy as Search Your Heart which was grabbed by Wilson Pickett for the B-side of Hey Jude or Evidence, one of Candi Staton's funkiest records and Back In Your Arms, the intense slow burner that languished away on the b-side of Pickett's Mini Skirt Mini (yet another hit penned by GJ!). And one more thing - George Jackson delivers vocals to rival any of the best in the deep soul genre.

Jackson and the Fame producers may have been content to see his stuff released by others but I'm positive that if they'd promoted more of his own recordings, he'd have been recognised as a serious soul man and been every bit as well known as the legends previously mentioned. We're so lucky that Fame protected these recordings and that we're able to hear them sounding as vital and inspired as they did when George Jackson made them. Ace says that there are in excess of 100 unissued tracks in the archives and they'll be used on future volumes over the next few years. I, for one, can't wait!

 

Review Date: January 2012

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