Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Digging discovery: Charles Jackson

Had a dig at Real Groovy this afternoon and came up with this 1978 LP by South Carolina-born Charles 'Chuck' Jackson. Got a stellar funk groove on it called Ooh Child, with bass by James Brown (not the James Brown, I'm picking).

In an August 1978 interview Jackson talked about the album title, saying it was something of a self-description. "I'm quiet, private, I feel things deeply, I'm passionate in what I believe and how I believe. And you know how a breeze has a certain element of melancholy about it - well, that's there too."

Bit of researching came up with this, via a listing on Dusty Grooves... "Passionate Breezes – a smoking solo debut from Chicago's Charles Jackson – a hell of a great singer, songwriter, and producer – who'd already had great fame in the Independents, and was working hard at Capitol Records with Marvin Yancy to help shape the early years of Natalie Cole [Yancy was married to Cole. The songwriting team recorded her early material at Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Studios in Chicago].

"During that time, Jackson stepped into the studio, and really stunned us with this sublime set of his own – a wonderfully mature batch of soul tunes that really reflects the great changes for male singers in the 70s – a mode that was particularly helped along by Windy City contemporaries Jerry Butler and Walter Jackson.

"Yet Charles has a warmth here that's all his own – gently stepping along grooves arranged by Mark Davis and Gene Barge – the latter of whom helped co-produce the record with Yancy. Yancy also wrote most of the cuts with Jackson – and titles include "Love Of You", "I Really Want You", "The Train", "Get On Down", "Passionate Breezes", and a remake of "Ooh Child".

Source: "... the set is best and rightly remembered for the title song. 'Passionate Breezes' is a classic Quiet Storm ballad... indeed it helped define the genre and it still sounds great today. Testament to its beauty is the fact the Dells (who knew a thing or two about decent ballads) cut a version of it too. Other highlights include a medley of Jackson's own 'I'm In Heaven' with Billy Preston's 'You Are So Beautiful'.

Surprisingly – considering Jackson was such an acclaimed writer – there's also a cover of Rod Stewart's 'Tonight's The Night'... odd, but odder is the fact that on the follow up LP, 'Gonna Getcha Love' there's only one Charles Jackson song, the gently insinuating 'I Really Want You'. 

Most of the other tunes are down to producer Gavin Christopher (must've needed the royalties). His 'Just For Your Lovin'' is worth checking out though – a decent, sophisticated, sedate dancer. There's also a great Sam Dees' number – the mournful 'For The Sake Of The Memories'.

Neither album fared particularly well and for reasons never fully explained Jackson faded as an artist and went back to writing – achieving notable success with songs he pitched at Whitney Houston. Apparently he now lives in comfortable retirement in Los Angeles..."

His songwriting partner Yancy died of a heart attack in 1985, aged 34.

Charles Jackson: AllMusic biography

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