The story of "Any Day Now" begins a year earlier, with a totally different song that's exactly the same. Tommy Hunt, who'd split from the Flamingos, had had a small solo hit with "Human" (Scepter 1219), and when writer-producer Luther Dixon went looking for a follow-up, he picked a track by Bob Hilliard and Burt Bacharach called "Lover." Hunt did a good job, but Bacharach apparently didn't like what he heard, and "Lover" went back into the vault. Meanwhile, Dixon, always looking for fresh talent, heard Chuck Jackson, a latter-day Dell-Viking gone solo, at the Apollo, and signed him up; "I Don't Want to Cry" crept into the Top 40 in 1961, and Jackson's follow-up, a Bacharach number called "I Wake Up Crying," also charted, which reminded Burt that he had this perfectly nice track sitting on the shelf. Retooled with a new set of lyrics and a prominent Paul Griffin organ riff, "Any Day Now" is a whole new song: while "Lover" was plaintive and sweet, "Any Day Now" is urgent and desperate, the gravel in Jackson's voice the very rattle of death as those blue shadows fall over town. Chuck Jackson stayed with Wand for five more years, cutting some spiffy solo singles and some duets with Maxine Brown, then split for Motown to work with Smokey Robinson, but "Any Day Now" was his finest hour.
Where can I get this on CD?
Scepter/Wand material is often licensed for compilations; Varèse Vintage's 1997 reissue The Very Best of Chuck Jackson 1961-67 (VSD 6577) is perhaps the best introduction to Chuck Jackson.
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Copyright © 2004 by Charles G. Hill
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