Long before sexy, young, angry, black alpha-males were allowed in modern white culture. With the exception of a few situations in the world of sports. One could, beginning in the 1950's, hear on occasion a specifically dark and gorgeously erotic voice like this one belonging to Chuck Jackson. This is a soulful and delicious singer. Anyone interested in mid-century black male vocalists should love these recordings because this is really fun stuff. Think of a very young Lou Rawls imitating a young Brook Benton with some Edwin Starr thrown in. Or a young Solomon Burke with maybe more of a Brill Building and less of a southern blues focus. Or even Ben E King with depth and range . He definitely deserves to be heard together with Roy Hamilton. There is a pretty wide mix of material here in this two-album cd. With very fresh and effective arrangements and orchestrations which give Mr. Jackson plenty to bump up against and then ultimately soar through. These are not simple and sexless performances which one can sometimes run into in mid-century pop music... even from black male performers. For me his cover of "Lonely Teardrops" makes clear that if his potent charm and raw eroticism had not been so racially intimidating, he surely should have been able to have had a very significant career. For there was lots of talent and potential here which warranted long-term development by a major label. His swinging version of this song is less vocally acrobatic than Jackie Wilson's but every bit as satisfying in a solid, grounded, raw, down to earth way. I also think that one can hear an inspiration for a young Tom Jones when listening to the many facets of these rich dark vocal generosities. If you are looking for more of the early Chuck Jackson of "Any Day Now" and "I Don't Want To Cry", perhaps because like me you heard him on the incredible Bear Family Record series "Sweet Soul Music". Then I really don't think that you can make a mistake by purchasing one, or both, of these two-album cd's from the Kent label. Oh, I forgot... the sound is great.
Ps: If you are interested in mid-century black male vocal music you might consider the equally brilliant Bear Family Record series titled "Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story Of Doo Wop." Pricey but worth it. I don't think that I have ever heard audio as good as what this series brings to these mostly rarely heard, mid-century, very precious gems. Enjoy.