Tony Jackson

Watch Your Step: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966

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For a long time, the only Tony Jackson collection was Strange Things' Just Like Me, which itself got hard to find not long after its release in the early '90s. This 2004 CD has everything that was on Just Like Me and a bit more. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there will ever be more Tony Jackson unearthed than what's here, as this disc has all 20 tracks Jackson released in the 1960s, along with four previously unreleased alternate takes and outtakes. Unsurprisingly, it sounds rather like (and sometimes much like) the Searchers, since Jackson was their original lead singer. And, to lay it on the line, it's not as good as the Searchers, though it's passable mid-'60s British Invasion music, and occasionally above average. The standout is certainly Jackson's folk-rock arrangement of Mary Wells' "You Beat Me to the Punch" (which liberally cops the guitar line from the Searchers' own arrangement of "Needles and Pins"). The high percentage of unmemorable covers of American R&B-rock tunes marks helped mark him, however, as a performer who didn't have nearly as much of distinction to offer outside of the Searchers as he did within that estimable band. Among the four previously unavailable songs, there's an alternate take of "Stage Door" with a somewhat less elaborate arrangement; an only slightly different alternate of "Is There Anything Else You Want"; the outtake "She Wanted Me" (by an unknown writer), which again recalls a middling Searchers; and an inconsequential jazzy instrumental cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out."

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