20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson

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20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of Chuck Jackson Review

by Tim Sendra

Chuck Jackson is one of the great underrated soul singers of the '60s. His deep and unerringly smooth vocals and the slick uptown sound of his records may give some listeners and critics the impression that he is lacking in soul. Not so. One listen to him soaring through the incredible "Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)" or "I Keep Forgettin' (Everytime You're Near)" will certainly dispel any doubts. This collection rounds up nine of his fine recordings for the Wand label cut between 1961 and 1965, including the two aforementioned classics plus the unusually raw "Hand It Over" and an intimate version of "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." It also adds a duet between Jackson and the equally wonderful and underrated Maxine Brown on Chris Kenner's "Something You Got" and a couple of cuts from later in his career. The very funky take on the Bert Berns-penned groover "Are You Lonely for Me Baby" comes from 1969 and was recorded during Jackson's brief stay at Motown. The other two cuts find Jackson in fine voice but with less than fine material and arrangements surrounding him: "I'm Needing You, Wanting You" is a slightly cheesy bedroom ballad from 1975, and "I Wanna Give You Some Love" is a lightly disco-fied take on a Bob Marley song from 1980. Still, they are a piece of the puzzle that most other Jackson collections ignore, so if you want a disc that covers those eras as well as his classic Wand period, this does just fine.

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