J. J. Jackson (singer)

Last updated
J.J. Jackson
Birth nameJerome Louis "J.J." Jackson
Born (1942-11-08) November 8, 1942 (age 78)
Bronx, New York
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, arranger
Instruments Vocals, piano, organ
Years active1957 - 2004
Associated acts Jack McDuff
Jimmy Witherspoon
The Shangri-Las

Jerome Louis Jackson (born November 8, 1942, [1] Bronx, New York) [2] known as J.J. Jackson, is an American soul/R&B singer, songwriter, and arranger. [3] His singing style is as a belter. Jackson best known for the song "But It's Alright", which he co-wrote with Pierre Tubbs. The song was released in 1966 and then re-released in 1969, to chart success on both occasions. The liner notes to his 1967 album, J.J. Jackson, on Calla Records, stated that he weighed 285 pounds. [4] [5]



Described as "one of the most interesting obscure figures of '60s soul", [6] Jackson, then based in New York, [2] [7] started out as a songwriter and arranger. His first songwriting credit, at the age of sixteen, was "The Lord Will Understand (And Say 'Well Done')", being the B-side to "Got A Date With An Angel", a 1957 single by Billy Williams. Jackson co-wrote the song with G. Douglas and M. Brent. [8] The song was banned by the BBC for "religious overtones". [9]

Jackson's first single was "Shy Guy", backed with "Time", on Crescent Records and distributed by Fantasy Records, in 1963. [10] Both songs were written by Jackson. [11]

Jackson was later a songwriter and arranger for "Brother" Jack McDuff, Jimmy Witherspoon, and the Shangri-Las, among others. His songwriting credits include Mary Wells' "My Mind's Made Up" [12] and "I've Come to One Conclusion" by Inez and Charlie Foxx, [13] [7] both co-written with fellow soul singer Sidney Barnes. Barnes and Jackson became a freelance songwriting team in 1964, at a time when Jackson was known as both a pianist and a songwriter. Barnes had previously been a lead writer, producer and talent scout for the recently-opened New York office of Motown Records and Jobete Music [14] Barnes and Jackson wrote songs for several R & B solo artists of the period, including Sandra Phillips and Billy Prophet, formerly of The Jive Five. Barnes and Jackson also wrote for The Soul Sisters, [15] and became staff writers at Sue Records, one of the few black-owned record labels based in New York at the time. [14]

Barnes and Jackson were soon thereafter signed to exclusive contracts with Red Bird Records and Trio Music Publishing, owned by Leiber and Stoller. [14] "It's Easier to Cry", by the Shangri-Las and released on Red Bird Records, was co-written by Jackson, Joe De Angelis and Robert Steinberg. The latter song was the B-side to the Shangri-Las' 1964 hit single "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" [16]

By 1965, Barnes had emerged as a solo performer, recording songs written by Barnes and Jackson, including "I Hurt On The Other Side", [17] and "I Don't Know Why". [14]

Jackson is best known for the soul hit "But It's Alright" co-written with Pierre Tubbs and which, after its 1966 release as the B-side of the single "Boogaloo Baby", became one of the best known dance music tunes of the decade, [18] reaching No. 22 on the Billboard chart. [3] The single was recorded in the United Kingdom, being one of the first R & B hit singles to have been recorded in England. [19] The song featured some of Britain's top jazz musicians of the day, including Terry Smith on guitar, Dick Morrissey on tenor sax and John Marshall on drums, and who would later form the backing band for Jackson's second and third albums. The album on which "But It's Alright" was first featured, released by Calla Records, was recorded in New York, with the exception of "But It's Alright". [4] Jackson also co-wrote, with Pierre Tubbs and Sidney Barnes, the Pretty Things' 1966 hit single, "Come See Me." [20] [6] Other versions of "But It's Alright" and "Come See Me" were recorded by Jackson in England, with a band credited as The Jeeps, being a band configuration of Pierre Tubbs [21] and originally released on Strike Records. Strike Records was also the release label in England of Jackson's first album. [22] Brother Jack McDuff, with David "Fathead" Newman, covered "But It's Alright", as an instrumental version, on their 1967 album Double Barrelled Soul . The song was also released as a single. [23] The song was also covered in 1967 by Eddie Floyd and included on Floyd's Knock on Wood album.

In 1967, Jackson was signed to Loma Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, prior to the label being absorbed by Warner Bros. in 1968. Jackson released a series of singles on Loma and Warner Bros. between 1967 and 1969. During this period, Jackson co-wrote much of his material with Windsor King, who had worked with Jackson from the time that Jackson was recording with Calla Records. [24] King also co-produced Jackson's material. Jackson also released singles that were co-written and co-produced by Jerry Ragovoy.

In 1969, Warner Bros. Records, which had acquired the catalogue of Calla Records, [3] re-released "But It's Alright". The single peaked at No. 45 on Billboard when it re-entered the chart on March 29, 1969. A Spanish version of the song was also released in 1969. [25] Later that year, Warner Bros. also re-released "Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)", which had originally been released in 1967, as the B-side to "That Ain't Right", written by Cherry Foster and Walter Jessup. [26] "That Ain't Right" had originally been released in 1967 as the B-side to "I Dig Girls". [27] "But It's Alright" and "Four Walls" were then released on one single as "Back to Back Hits". [28]

In 1969, Warner Bros. released The Great J.J. Jackson , which contained four songs from Jackson's Calla Records debut, plus eight others. [29] Later that year, Jackson signed with Congress Records, a subsidiary of Kapp Records, releasing his third album, The Greatest Little Soul Band in the Land , in late 1969. This album reunited Jackson with the English musicians who had contributed to the success of "But It's Alright", in 1966, in particular Dick Morrissey and Terry Smith. For his fourth album, Jackson formed J.J. Jackson's Dilemma, releasing an eponymous album on Perception Records in 1970, recorded in 1969. [30] With some of the same musicians who had been members of J.J. Jackson's Dilemma, Jackson released his fifth and final album (and fourth solo album) ...and proud of it! in 1970, on Perception Records. [31]

Jackson became a permanent resident of England in 1969. [32] That same year, Jackson was the subject of a private publication by artist Nancy Reiner, The Adventures of JJ or How The Greatest Little Soul Band In The Land Jes Grooved and Grooved and Grooved. [33] Reiner was the artist whose sketch of Jimi Hendrix became the cover of The Cry of Love . She had previously created the cover art for albums by Brother Jack McDuff and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Jackson's longtime producer, commencing with his recordings at Calla Records and continuing across subsequent labels, was Lew Futterman. Futterman was also a producer of recordings by Jack McDuff and Jimmy Witherspoon, as well as recordings by the British band If.

In 1975, Jackson released the single "Let Me Try Again", under the Magna-Glide label. The label was owned by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz, who had previously been associated with bubblegum music. [34] The single was unique for Jackson, in that long-time producer Lew Futterman was not involved, and Jackson did not contribute to writing the single. The song was written and produced by Robert (Bobby) Flax and Lanny Lambert. [35]

Jackson's recording career largely ceased after 1975. As of the 1990s and into the 2000s, he performed as a member of various "Oldies" tours, involving various artists from the 1950s and 1960s. In 1994 and 1995, he performed at the Greek Theatre with other artists, including Chuck Berry, Mel Carter, Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, Len Barry and Rosie and the Originals. [36] He was included in the 1999 RKO Records release by "Lou Christie and Friends", Rock & Roll Legends Live!, which included performances by Christie and Jackson, as well as Ian Whitcomb, Chris Montez, Jewel Akens, Robert Parker and The Cuff Links [37] In 2002 and 2003, Jackson appeared in revues organized and headlined by Edwin Cook, formerly of the Cornell Gunter version of The Coasters, where others on the bill included Chris Montez, Al Wilson and Otis Day. [38]

Despite Jackson's own lack of recorded output, "But It's Alright" continued to be covered by other artists. In 1981, Australian band Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons covered the song, which was released as a single from their Step Lively album. [39] [40] In 1994, the song was covered by Huey Lewis and the News and included on the album Four Chords & Several Years Ago . The Lewis 1994 cover was also released as a single, including both studio and live versions of the song. [41]

in 1996, Jackson's first album was re-released, on CD in the United Kingdom, by See For Miles Records. [42] It was also re-released in 2005 in the United States, by Collectables Records. [43]

In 2009, The Great J.J. Jackson was re-released, on CD, by Collector's Choice. The re-release included as additional tracks the remaining songs from Jackson's first album on Calla Records that had not been included in the original release of The Great J.J. Jackson. Thus, Jackson's entire first album plus some of his singles released by Loma Records and Warner Bros. Records were included on one album, [29] though a number of Jackson's singles were never included on albums.

In 2017, Jackson was included among the performers in Rock and Roll Reunion, produced by TVS Television [44]

There is often confusion between Jerome Louis Jackson, known as J. J. Jackson, and Leo Robinson, [45] who moved to Brazil and later changed his name to J. J. Jackson, at times adding "do Brasil" to his stage name. [46] [47]



As J.J. Jackson

As J. J. Jackson's Dilemma


As J.J. Jackson

  • 1963 Shy Guy/Time (Crescent) [10]
  • 1966 But It's Alright/Boogaloo Baby (Calla Records; Billboard Hot 100 #22, Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles Chart #4) [53]
  • 1966 But It's Alright/Come See Me (I'm Your Man)/I Dig Girls/Let It Out (Fonogram) [54]
  • 1966 It Seems Like I've Been Here Before/'Til Love Goes Out of Style (Calla) [55]
  • 1967 Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)/Here We Go Again (Calla Records; R&B Singles #17) [56]
  • 1967 I Dig Girls/That Ain't Right (Calla Records; Billboard Hot 100 #83, R&B Singles #19) [27]
  • 1967 Boogaloo Baby/A Change Is Gonna Come/Love Is A Hurting Thing/Try Me (Fonogram) [57]
  • 1967 Sho Nuff (Got A Good Thing Going)/Try Me (Loma/Warner Bros.) [58]
  • 1968 Come See Me/Try Me (Strike Records) [59]
  • 1968 Come See Me/I Don't Want To Live My Life Alone (Loma) [60]
  • 1968 Down, But Not Out/Why Does It Take So Long? (Loma/Warner Bros.) [61]
  • 1968 That Ain't Right/Courage Ain't Strength (Loma) [62]
  • 1968 Too Late/You Do It Cause You Wanna (Warner Bros.) [63]
  • 1968 Courage Ain't Strength/Too Late/It Seems Like I've Been Here Before/You Do It Cause You Wanna (Warner Bros.) [64]
  • 1969 But It's Alright/Ain't Too Proud to Beg (Warner Bros. Records; Billboard Hot 100 #45) [65]
  • 1969 That Ain't Right/Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)(Warner Bros.) [26]
  • 1969 But It's Alright/Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)(Warner Bros.) [28]
  • 1969 Pero Esta Bien / No Esta Bien (Warner Bros.) [25]
  • 1969 Fat, Black and Together/Fat, Black and Together (Congress) [66] [67]
  • 1970 Nobody's Gonna Help You (Lessen You Help Yourself)/Help Me Get To My Grits (Perception) [68]
  • 1975 Let Me Try Again/When Love Meets Love(Magna-Glide/London) [35]

As J.J. Jackson's Dilemma

  • 1970 Bow Down To The Dollar/Indian Thing(RCA Victor) [69]

Contributions to other recordings

As an arranger, conductor

As a musician

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  1. He is asserted by an unparticularized Wikipedia contributor to have died on February 15, 1988, based on a link to a Social Security Index that is difficult to verify.
  2. 1 2 Jackson's place of birth, from the liner notes to his 1967 album JJ, is specified to be Bronx, New York. One source indicates that his birthplace is Gillett, Arkansas ("home of the Coon Festival"), a reference that appears repeated elsewhere, while Allmusic, via Richie Unterberger reports Jackson's birthplace as being in Brooklyn, New York. What is clear is that Jackson was based in New York from a young age, given that his first recorded songwriting credit occurred when he was sixteen. Another report is that Jackson attended the City College of New York for a period, which is particularized as two years in the liner notes to J.J. Jackson. The unsourced reference to Jackson's birthplace being Gillett, Arkansas comes from a series of Wikipedia entries made by a Wikipedia contributor on May 16, 2012, solely referenced to J.J. Jackson, and where no further Wikipedia contributions were made by this user.
  3. 1 2 3 Rick Simmons, Carolina Beach Music: The Classic Years (The History Press, 2011), p. 92.
  4. 1 2 Liner notes to J.J. Jackson; Rootsvinylguide. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  5. Jackson's weight was part of his image during the 1960s. For example, in the Liner notes to J.J. Jackson, he is described as follows: "He's fat (285 lbs.), happy-go-lucky and totally lacking the kind of ego that stars are supposed to need."
  6. 1 2 Richie Unterberger, Biography of J.J. Jackson; Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  7. 1 2 Bill Dahl, Biography of J.J. Jackson, being a profile contained in Sweet Soul Music: 29 Scorching Classics from 1966; Bear Family Records. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  8. Credits for "The Lord Will Understand (And Say 'Well Done'); Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  9. Records Banned By The BBC; 45cat. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  10. 1 2 Particulars of "Shy Guy/Time"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  11. The record was produced by Andy Di Martino, who became a studio musician, songwriter and producer, most notably of recordings by The Cascades. See Andy Di Martino discography; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-11-17. Among other engagements, Di Martino contributed guitar to Unconditionally Guaranteed , by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.
  12. Contained on the album Mary Wells (20th Century Fox Records, 1965); Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  13. Contained on the album Mockingbird - Phase 1: The Complete Sue Recordings (Connoisseur Collection, 2001); Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-02. One of the few songs recorded by the duo that was not written by Charlie Foxx or Inez and Charlie Foxx.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Biography of Sidney Barnes; sidneybarnes.net. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  15. Such as "Think About The Good Times" (1965), also produced by Barnes and Jackson, where Jackson is also credited as the arranger: 45cat.com. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  16. Particulars of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  17. On Blue Cat Records, a subsidiary of Red Bird Records. The song, written by Jackson and Barnes, was produced by Leiber and Stoller: Particulars of "I Hurt On The Other Side"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  18. "JJ Jackson - But It's Alright CD Album". Cduniverse.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  19. Back Tracking; ska2soul. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  20. Particulars of "Come See Me"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  21. Song particulars, Pierre's Plastic Dream - The Garage Tapes, England 1966-1968 (Market Square Records, 1991); Discogs.
  22. Particulars of But It's Alright album release on Strike Records; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  23. Brother Jack McDuff Quintet feat. David Newman - But It's Alright; Funky16Corners. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  24. Windsor King, whose background was in doo-wop, had been one of the original members of The "5" Royales and later founded The Cashmeres.
  25. 1 2 Particulars of "Pero Esta Bien"/"No Esta Bien"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-12. Being Spanish versions of "But It's Alright" and "That Ain't Right".
  26. 1 2 Particulars of "That Ain't Right"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  27. 1 2 Particulars of "I Dig Girls"/"That Ain't Right"; Discogs. Retrieved 3017-08-24. Jackson is credited as both the arranger and conductor.
  28. 1 2 Particulars of "But It's Alright"/"Four Walls"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-23. Jackson is credited as the arranger and conductor of both songs. The single identifies "But It's Alright" as having been released in the spring of 1969, while "Four Walls" is identified as having been released in the summer of 1969.
  29. 1 2 3 Mark Deming, Review of The Great J.J. Jackson; Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  30. For this album, Morrissey and Smith were joined by sax player Dave Quincy in backing Jackson. As a result of this association, Morrissey, Smith and Quincy decided to further work together, becoming the founding members of the progressive jazz-rock band If, in 1969.
  31. Musicians on the album included keyboardist Chris Parren, later of Midnight Flyer and The Strawbs and trombonist John Bennett, who had been a founding member of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen. Both co-wrote much of the material on the album.
  32. Joe Troiano, Review of "But It's Alright" Archived 2017-08-11 at the Wayback Machine ; Joe T's Soda Shop. Retrieved 2017-08-10. Some report that Jackson became a British citizen at that time: John Bush, Review of "But It's Alright"; Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  33. Tom Shaw, Instagram photos and text extracts; Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  34. Particulars of Magna Glide Records; Bad Cat Records. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  35. 1 2 Particulars of "Let Me Try Again"/"When Love Meets Love"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-05. "When Love Meets Love" is credited to "J.J. Jackson's Funky Butt Band". The single was released on Magna-Glide Records in the United States and on London Records in the United Kingdom.
  36. Performances Highlights; rosieandtheoriginals.com. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  37. Particulars of Rock & Roll Legends Live!; Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-09-01. The dates and locations of the live recordings are not particularized. Of the sixteen tracks, Jackson sang "It's Alright", while the majority of the album was composed of performances by Lou Christie and Chris Montez, who both had five songs on the album.
  38. Photo Gallery; edwincook.com. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  39. Particulars of "But It's Alright"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-20. The single release included a spoken intro on one side, and the song on the other.
  40. Particulars of Step Lively; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  41. Particulars of "It's Alright"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-21. EP CD single, released in Germany, on Elektra Records.
  42. Tim Sendra, Review of But It's Alright; AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  43. Particulars of But It's Alright; CD Universe. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  44. News Release, August 31, 2017, TVS Television Network to Produce "Battle of the Bands" in Bakersfield. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  45. See, for example, "Leo Robinson aka J.J. Jackson; Rare Philly Sax. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  46. Unsourced comments of an unidentified Wikipedia contributor, who adds: "I found this out when I went to a J. J. Jackson (do Brasil) concert in Londrina, taking an original 45 of 'But It's Alright' for him to sign. He rapidly said: 'That's J. J. Jackson from the US. I'm J. J. Jackson do Brasil'."
  47. "J.J. Jackson do Brasil website". Jjjacksondobrasil.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  48. Label Title; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  49. With Terry Smith, Dick Morrissey, Larry Steele and Ian Hague.
  50. Particulars of ...and proud of it!; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  51. Released on RCA Victor Records in England.
  52. With Terry Smith, Dick Morrissey, Dave Quincy, Larry Steele, and Ian Hague.
  53. Credits for "It's Alright"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-23. Jackson is credited as the arranger of both songs.
  54. Particulars of "But It's Alright" 45 RPM Extended Play; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-01. The extended play single was released in Spain and in France, with the latter on Mercury Records and titled "Boogaloo". See Particulars of "Boogaloo"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  55. Particulars of "It Seems Like I've Been Here Before"/"'Til Love Goes Out of Style"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  56. Particulars of "Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)"/"Here We Go Again"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  57. Particulars of "Boogaloo Baby" 45 RPM Extended Play; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  58. Credited as having been arranged and conducted by J.J. Jackson, and produced by Lew Futterman. Particulars of "Sho Nuff (Got A Good Thing Going)"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  59. Particulars of "Come See Me"/"Try Me"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  60. Particulars of "Come See Me (I'm Your Man)"/"I Don't Want To Live My Life Alone"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  61. Particulars of "Down, But Not Out"; 45cat. Retrieved 2017-08-09. Jackson is credited as the arranger of the A and B sides. He co-wrote "Down, But Not Out" with Windsor King, who also co-produced the single with Lew Futterman. The B-side, "Why Does It Take So Long?" was co-written by Al Stewart, Peter Paul and Billy Meshel.
  62. Particulars of "That Ain't Right"/"Courage Ain't Strength; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-06. Neither side of the single was co-written by Jackson, which is unusual. "Courage Ain't Strength" was written by Billy Meshel and co-produced by Lew Futterman, Windsor King and Jerry Ragovoy.
  63. Particulars of "Too Late"/"You Do It Cause You Wanna"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-07. Another single co-produced by Ragovoy, Futterman and King, and where Ragovoy co-wrore, with Jackson and King, "You Do It Cause You Wanna".
  64. Particulars of "Courage Ain't Strength" EP; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  65. Particulars of "It's Alright"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-22. Jackson is credited as the arranger and conductor.
  66. Particulars of "Fat, Black and Together"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-25. The same song was featured on both sides of the single.
  67. Particulars of "Fat, Black and Together"; funky16corners. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  68. Particulars of "Nobody's Gonna Help You (Lessen You Help Yourself)"/"Help Me Get To My Grits"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  69. Particulars of "Bow Down To The Dollar"/"Indian Thing"; Discogs. Retrieved 30 August 2017. The single was released in England.
  70. Particulars of "I'm Walking Out On Trouble"/"Try Me"; Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-13.