George Jackson ‘In Memphis’ LP (Kent) 5/5

I’m not sure what I can add to the incredible story that is George Jackson, one of the greatest writers, producers and singers to ever surface in the cavernous world of soul music. Far better scribes than me have waxed lyrical about this icon and provided every detail about his life. This is a historical moment in our music, a vinyl album which houses a number of his pursued 45s and four simply wonderful first-timers on vinyl. I’m a very serious collector of soul music and I own all of his known 45s and all of the Kent CDs that have surfaced covering this great man’s output, but a vinyl long-player, that’s the stuff of dreams, I kid you not. Some of you might be thinking why would you need this album if you have them all in other formats; well your totally missing the point, let’s look at the brilliant previously unissued on vinyl “If you never see me”, a total dancefloor destroyer with a rhythm that will get into your head and never let go, with effortless vocals, now then in those venues which have vinyl-only options, don’t laugh, in 2020 we still have those Jurassic Park venues where vinyl is the only option, CD not on my watch mate, well they will be able to play catch up with the rest of us who have been playing this gem since 2009 when Kent first put it out on the “In Memphis 1972-77” CD 21 tracker.

One of the true rare 45s is the ER release which I acquired in a fierce auction with some Japanese collectors, in October 2019 I had the immense honour of playing a two hour set of deep and sweet soul at the now legendary Cotton Club in Bilbao, Spain, halfway through I dropped George’s finest moment “I don’t need you anymore” ER Music 45, the conversation stopped, as the track played through, I could feel the intensity growing, grown men swallowing hard looking through teary eyes, those that came to the decks could only acknowledge with hand gestures the greatness of what they were listening to, moving back to their original position totally lost in the moment, such is the sheer intensity and beauty of a black storytelling moment by an acknowledged genius. “Walking City Streets” was a lovely moment for me, yes I have it on CD but had forgotten how great it was, meandering along on percussion, vibes never really gathering pace but keeping your attention throughout. “Let’s live for ourselves” has that instant rolling tempo that acts as a clarion call to the dancers and I foresee some serious plays out for this stunner, again a vinyl first-timer, and the last of the four unissued tunes “Dear Abby” a downtempo opus of serious stature, a serious listening moment.

Also included are his MGM and Chess 45s and the hideously rare ER 45 too. Yep, I’ve gushed all over this, heaped huge praise on it but if you don’t get I can’t help you, a simply wonderful moment in my collecting life. As essential as the air you’re breathing now.
Go get one, and whilst you’re at it, check out the other Ace/Kent CDs that chronicle Mr Jackson’s output.

Brian Goucher