Mr. Scruff


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Don't let the relatively modest rating fool you -- there's some very enjoyable R&B and pop-soul on this record, especially for anyone who loves the sounds of Ben E. King, Brook Benton, or Chuck Jackson. Jerry Jackson never charted a single in eight years of attempts on three different labels, and there was a tremendous inconsistency to his work in terms of its sound and focus. The four different producers on the four years of sessions represented on this album all had very different ideas about how he should sound, with Clyde Otis (most successfully of all) and Allen Stanton being the most consistent. Some of what's here, including "La Dee Dah" and "If Teardrops Were Diamonds," is almost embarrassingly pop-oriented, although even that material has enough soulfulness to make it worth hearing. His rendition of "Blowin' in the Wind," although it had a little too breezy a background, points the way toward the gospel career that Jackson ultimately pursued; and "Time," despite its very English pop-sounding string accompaniment, offers a passionate and compelling performance and was a very memorable tune. And Jackson was able to add a soulful spin to a pair of pop standards, "Always" and "Shrimp Boats (A-Comin'-There's Dancin' Tonight)," the latter so successfully that it was mentioned in Billboard's "bubbling under" listings without ever charting. The sound is excellent and the annotation, though sketchy in some areas, more than does justice to this curious footnote in the history of American soul.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
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