Friday, 2 January 2009

Willis Jackson - The Way We Were





Pick Up The Pieces


WILLIS JACKSON
The Way We Were
1975

83.1 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Atlantic SD 18145


You may have noticed that one of the best blogs around, My Favourite Sound, was
recently out of commission while the crew was re-tooling the site. The great news is they're back up and running for 2009! One of the new features of their layout is a revamped request page and I've seen this particular hole in their extensive Willis Jackson discography for some time but haven't upped it since my copy is not-so-clean (there's only so much ClickRepair can do). However, months on and no one else has stepped up with this so I thought I would rip it regardless of quality since I hate to see JazzyPier, Celoduro and the crew go without for so long. Welcome back MFS!

Honestly, it's far from the best set by The Gator due to it swimming in sickly sweet strings, inane back up vocals and a sterile studio sound that would make even the most lenient jazzbo cringe. Willis ain't bad but he's bogged down in the elevator/supermarket territory that sucked so much soul out of the 70s. Although there's an occasional good groove and a break or two to be found
here and there, don't look for much in the way of gut-bucket growls or boss horn blowing on this one. One look at the line-up makes you think it could be a corker but a second glance tells a different story once you notice the plethora of backup singers, more recording engineers than should be allowed in one studio and a sure sign of saccharine sonics: enlisting the producer's four year-old daughter for the proceedings. Yikes!


AMG Bio by Scott Yanow
An exciting tenor saxophonist whose honking and squeals (although influenced by Illinois Jacquet) were quite distinctive, Willis Jackson was also a strong improviser who sounded perfectly at home with organ groups. He played locally in Florida early on, until joining Cootie Williams (on and off during 1948-1955). His two-sided honking feature "Gator Tail" with "Cootie" (which earned Williams a lifelong nickname) was a hit in 1948, and he started recording as a leader in 1950. Jackson was married to singer Ruth Brown for eight years, and often appeared on her recordings during this era. His extensive series of Prestige recordings (1959-1964) made him a big attraction on the organ circuit. Although generally overlooked by critics, Willis Jackson continued working steadily in the 1970s and '80s. In 1977, he recorded one of the finest albums of his career for Muse, Bar Wars.


Willis "Gator" Jackson - Tenor Sax
Bob Babbitt - Bass
Tony Bell - Guitar, Tambourine
Bobby Eli - Guitar
Ron Kersey - Keyboards
Richard Rome - Keyboards
Rocco Bene - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Bobby Hartzel - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
John Wilson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Peter DeAngelis - Tuba, French Horn
Jack Faith - Flute
Freddy Joiner - Trombone
Jim Nelson - Vibraphone
Charles Collins - Drums
Larry Washington - Conga
Jay Mark - Tambourine
Thom Bell - Tambourine
Phil Hurtt - Tambourine, Vocals (bckgr)
Barbara Ingram - Vocals (bckgr)
Carla Benton - Vocals (bckgr)
Evette Benton - Vocals (bckgr)
Lucille Dunbar - Vocals (bckgr)
Kenny Present - Vocals (bckgr)
Don Renaldo - Strings


1 The Way We Were
2 Lover's Eve
3 Sideshow
4 Brown Eyed Girl
5 Love's Theme
6 Fire
7 Lady Marmalade
8 Then Came You
9 Shame, Shame, Shame
10 Pick Up the Pieces


If you want to hear more from Jackson, especially his superior soul-jazz sets of the 60s and early 70s, do yourself a solid favour and head over to My Favourite Sound. In the meantime Soundological invites you to catch this later Gator HERE or HERE.

4 comments:

JAZZYPIER said...

That's what friends are for!
Thank u Cheeba, like any other times you had helped us!
Thank u very much dear friend!
All the best!

Pier

pretoria said...

Thank you Cheeba Enjoy!!

cheeba said...

Pleasure's all mine guys!

Andy said...

Hi Cheeba,Andy here from George Jazz.I also contribute to MFS and I have just discovered your mighty fine blog.Good work my friend,keep it up.