Gene Jackson ‘1963’ (Blue Lotus Recordings) 5/5

The finest album so far this year by miles. Southern soul with a toe in the contempory side of things and most definitely a nod to all things great and black from back in the day. Take the opener, “That’s why I love you”, a stunning dancer with everything but the kitchen sink chucked in there, think Tyrone Davis “Can I change your mind” and you’re there way back in the day, what a way to start. And if you thought that was good, we go straight into another killer dancer, “1963”, a history lesson of what was happening that year set against a slightly less-paced tune than track 1 – my good friend Steve Scotney dropped this at Soul Essence 35 and got huge response. This is one of those simply timeless, effortless classics in the making, wonderful, simply wonderful. Upping the pace to an almost on the four’s beat we have “Love at first sight”, this really has grown on me, I was in the car recently and turned this up loud with windows open and sun shining.  For me, southern soul perfection complete with Mark Huth solo on Tenor/Alto sax.
Onto the best track for me, the mid-tempo burner, “You’re gonna get hurt” bathed in violin, cello, viola, Wurlitzer, chink chink bass, pleading vocals, easily my track of the year and I doubt it can be bettered, Gene Jackson OMG. Set a similar pace is the modern day Doo-Wop inspired “Aint no way”, again vocally he carries this to another level.

Every year collecting soul music throws up a number of surprises. Blue Lotus have done it to me twice recently with Roland Johnson and Gene Jackson. A ten-tracker of immense quality and stature, a southern soul masterpiece… now then sod off while I play it again.

I stumbled over this as a download, made some enquiries with Blue Lotus who’s customer service is brilliant, there was a hitch with the website in that it wouldn’t allow delivery outside the USA, I was assured they were going to look at that, get this album anyway you can.

Blue Lotus Update May 2017: You may remember Renee Smith dueted with Roland Johnson, well she has an EP near to completion so look out for that, In June Everett Dean has an EP hitting the streets too, and the 4th Annual Saint Louis Blues Society compilation will arrive too, the previous two comp’s had tracks on from Renee and Roland, like many of you I was oblivious to these releases so I’m on the case trying to acquire them, if I’m successful I’ll preview the album’s here and possibly the EP’s on UKVibe’s Facebook pages. Watch this space.

Brian Goucher