Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown

Saying Something

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In 1966, Chuck Jackson was Wand Records' leading soul star, and Maxine Brown was a promising vocalist who had scored a handful of minor hits for the label before making the Top 40 with "It's Gonna Be Alright." Figuring that two hitmakers are better than one, Wand got the bright idea of putting Jackson & Brown together for an album of duets, and 1966's Saying Something demonstrated they made as fine a combination as bacon and eggs. Most of the cuts on Saying Something found the two vocalists trading lines as if the songs were romantic dialogue, and they were certainly up to the task, as Jackson's powerful baritone meshed beautifully with Brown's clear, dramatic tenor on a set of 12 fine songs (though if "The Real Thing" sounds strangely familiar to you, that's because it has the same backing track as "Baby, Take Me," which appeared only three cuts previously). Along with some well-chosen covers from Chris Kenner and Ivory Joe Hunter, Saying Something also featured some early copyrights from Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and "Don't Go" and "Never Had It So Good" show they already had the goods that would make them songwriting royalty. And Stan Green's production is polished New York soul at its most effective; Jackson & Brown were at the top of their game when they recorded Saying Something, and they sound superb together on this LP.