five decades after his first single, Alabama
soul man Ralph ‘Soul’ Jackson finally gets around to releasing a full length
record. Featuring seven originals and a tight version of the Ides of March soul
shouter classic “Vehicle,” Jackson
sounds nimble, amped and ready to tussle.
Jackson is a part of that
wickedly groove happy school of Southern Soul that the studios in Memphis and Muscle Shoals cranked out in a
massive outpouring of classic sides in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In other words, and
with all due respect to Motown, Philadelphia and
New Orleans, Jackson is part of arguably the most vital
lineage of soul music in history.
over a couple of years in Jackson’s home of Phenix City, AL and in Chicago, and
using a rotating cast of musicians that includes members of Dead Rider, Mucca
Pazza, US Maple, Detholz! and The Drastics (never heard of any of them…), Jackson and Co. deliver
the goods on a modest but effective collection of tracks. “I Can’t Leave You
Alone,” “You’ve Been Very Good To Me” “Somewhere In This World” and “Vehicle”
are real highlights. Tracks are relatively stripped down, with lots of great
organ, steady rolling grooves and some nice horn playing. Southern fried soul
is the recipe, so bits of gospel, blues and country hover around the edges. Jackson’s voice can twist
from husky to smooth, and he’s got a nice command of the mid range, and sounds
strong and good to go after 50 years or so of singing.
reinventing the wheel here – or soul music for that matter – but, yeah, so what.
It’s great to hear Jackson
finally get his due on a full length, and soul fans will be all over this one,
so step right up, ya’ll.
DOWNLOAD: “I Can’t Leave Your
Love Alone,” “You’ve Been Very Good To Me,” “Vehicle,” “Somewhere In This
World.” CARL HANNI