One of the most interesting obscure figures of '60s soul, J.J. Jackson scored a mammoth R&B hit in 1966 with one of the most infectious dance smashes of the decade, "But It's Alright." The New Yorker had worked as an arranger for Jack McDuff and Jimmy Witherspoon before his manager arranged for Jackson to come to England in 1966. Though "But It's Alright," with its classic stuttering guitar riff and sharp horn charts, sounded as authentic as any Stax/Volt single, it was actually recorded in the U.K. with British session musicians. Jackson -- a mammoth, nearly 300-pound man who also played organ -- was a grainy, good-natured belter in the mold of Otis Redding. A talented songwriter who penned much of his own material, he wrote the A-side of one of the Pretty Things' best mid-'60s R&B/raunch singles ("Come See Me"). Jackson never matched the success of "But It's Alright," but cut some singles that are highly valued by English Northern soul connoisseurs. His hard-to-find 1969 and 1970 albums found him exploring, in the manner of most other soul stars of the time, increased social consciousness in his songwriting and increasingly sophisticated horn and string arrangements. ~ Richie Unterberger
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