J. J. Jackson

Calla 119, 1966
Billboard: #22

Two notes, then four and then two notes, then four and then — but then you know this one already, with an opening riff "strong enough," said rock writer Don Waller, "to levitate a bloc of communists." Exactly how and when Jerome Louis Jackson became "J. J." is unclear, but he started recording around 1961, and wound up at the New York independent label Calla in the middle Sixties. "But It's Alright", which Jackson cowrote with Pierre Tubbs, rocks amazingly hard without ever losing its soul credentials; the horn section plays off that murderous guitar riff with style, and how Jackson got so much gravel in his voice at the tender age of twenty-five is a mystery to us all. What's more, "But It's Alright" was a British recording, which makes its soulfulness even more remarkable; guitarist Terry Smith and tenor saxman Dick Morrissey eventually formed a jazz-rock group called If. J. J. charted with two more singles for Calla over the next year: "I Dig Girls", which made it onto his one and only LP (Calla 1101, 1967), and "Four Walls", which didn't. "Come See Me (I'm Your Man)", another album track, apparently dates from an earlier time; the Pretty Things had cut a version for the A-side of their sixth British single. Warner Bros. eventually bought control of the Jackson catalogue, and reissued "But It's Alright" in the spring of '69 (WB 7276), which climbed to #45 the second time around. By this time, Jackson had relocated to England, where he still performs today, and no, he did not take a few years off to come play VJ for the nascent MTV; that was some other J. J. (not even J. L.) Jackson.

Where can I get this on CD?
This tune has turned up in a number of places; I suggest Eric's Teen Time Volume 2: I Got Rhythm (11521).

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