Jack Mack

Jack It Up

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Had Jack It Up been recorded in the late '60s or early '70s instead of in 1990, it might have been a big hit. Combining soul and rock, this is a solid, unapologetically retro effort that recalls the days when blue-eyed soulsters like Rare Earth, the Spencer Davis Group, the Rascals, and Blood, Sweat & Tears were burning up the charts. The CD stood no chance of being played on R&B radio in 1990, which was only interested in urban contemporary -- and it might have had a hard time on soul radio in 1968 or 1970 because of the strong rock & roll element. Jack Mack & the Heart Attack owed a lot to Stax and Motown, but its sound owed just as much to 1960s rock & roll. However, it isn't hard to imagine the pop/Top 40 stations of the 1960s or early '70s playing infectious blue-eyed soul tunes like "Round & Round" and "Somebody Somewhere" -- although the R&B stations of that era felt that a lot of blue-eyed soul was too rock-influenced for their formats, pop/Top 40 stations were more rock-friendly and gave blue-eyed soul a lot of exposure. Equally enjoyable is the band's cover of Procol Harum's 1967 hit "A White Shade of Pale"; hardly a carbon copy of the original, Jack Mack's interesting cover shows what the tune might have sounded like if Otis Redding had performed it with Blood, Sweat & Tears backing him. Jack It Up wasn't a huge seller -- Voss Records didn't have a lot of hits -- but it's a pleasing effort that will appeal to die-hard fans of blue-eyed soul.

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