on 1 January 2013
Jackie Ross is a pretty obscure soulstress who recorded briefly for Chess in the mid-60's and sort of acted as a warm-up act for the far better known Fontella Bass who followed Jackie onto Chess when the latter left in high dudgeon over the usual monetary issues (still sadly relevant almost 50-years later).
Her one big(gish) hit was "Selfish One", a superbly melodic mid-paced stepper with high-end production values and a classy vocal. There is plenty more of this sort of classy, danceable uptown soul on this compilation including a remake of "Selfish One" as "New Lover" with a different arrangement (more prominent organ-track) and lyrics. Motown is certainly a strong influence throughout but not distractingly so, largely due to the largely solid songwriting, the power of Jackie's vocals (often compared to Motown's Mary Wells but to my ears with strong overtones of a young Minnie Riperton who may have well been influenced by Jackie) and great playing by the Chess band.
There are some excellent ballads including a cover of Mitty Collier's "I Had A Talk With My Man" which benefits from Jackie's airier vocal style. A couple of jazzy standards "Summertime" & "Misty" also flag her versatility without coming over too much as the album filler they probably were in the day. There are also some tracks with girl-group overtones such as "Everything But Love" which isn't surprising since the girl-group era was just coming to an end when these tracks were laid down and they work surprisingly well, probably because of Jackie's lighter vocal style (whereas tracks of this ilk laid down by Etta James at roughly the same time on Chess did not work due to the overwhelming intensity of Etta's vocals).
Finally a word on the playing of the band; superb throughout - easily capable of throwing down Motown-type moves, but also able to play it bluesy (as befits anything on the venerable Chess label) with a surprising number of very tasty organ fills and riffs which I wasn't expecting but was delighted by.
In conclusion, a truly excellent compilation and a great way to end 2012 for KENT after what in all honesty has been a bit of patchy 12-months for the world's premier soul reissue label.
on 8 January 2013
I've always loved "Selfish One" which I have on a really old Chess LP so I was really excited about the prospect of a full CD of Jackie Ross Chess sides. This doesn't disappoint as it is full of outstanding tracks that are new to me. I can't sop playing "Trust in Me" on repeat. This is a real classic foot-tapper and I defy anyone to sit still to it. A collector friend of mine says that it was released in the late 90's as a single, but it escaped me. You then need to listen to the excellent version of "Take me fora little while". There are two unreleased tracks on it from 1965 which are real growers "Stick to one" & "My Square". "New Lover" is a retake on "Selfish One" with lots more organ on it - it sounds a bit odd at first but soon grows. "Dynamite Lovin'" is pretty excellent as well. Not sure yet about the two standards "Summertime" & "Misty" but they may grow on me.
If you are into 60's Soul and want to explore past the singles this CD is a must and will give you hours of pleasure - you can't stop yourself smiling when listening to this!!