The Story and Music of J.J. Jackson

Introduction to J.J. Jackson

Jerome Louis Jackson, more popularly known as J.J. Jackson, is an R&B and soul singer, whose style is classified as a “belter.” He also writes and arranges his own material. He was born on November 8, 1942 in Bronx, New York. Jackson is best known for his lively hit single “But It’s Alright” in 1966, from the album of the same title. He worked with various artists, including jazz organist “Brother” Jack McDuff, jump blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon,the American all-girl group The Shangri-Las, and singer/songwriter/producer Sidney Barnes, among others. In 1980 Jackson moved to Brazil where he was also known as Leo Robinson. He lived there for a quite number of years; in Brazil he also released a single called “Out Of Common” back to back with “To My Hearth,” on a little-known independent label in 1981.

Early life

American R&B singer and songwriter J.J. Jackson was born Jerome Louis Jackson on November 8, 1942 in Bronx, New York. He also worked as an arranger for several artists, among them were Jack McDuff, Jimmy Witherspoon, and the Shangri-Las. Jackson is also known for his singing style called a belter. He was particularly active during the 60s music era.

Jackson as a recording artist, songwriter and performer

From 1962 to 1965, Jackson was actively writing songs for different acts until he released his own single on Calla Records in 1966, “But It’s Alright.” Written by Jackson and British songwriter Pierre Tubbs and produced by Lew Futterman, the B-side track was a success, peaking at #4 on the R&B charts and crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 at #22. It was even re-recorded in the United Kingdom which featured top jazz musicians of the country, Terry Smith (guitar), Dick Morrissey (tenor sax) and John Marshall (drums). Smith, Morrissey, and Marshall became his backing musicians for Jackson’s next two albums. In 1969, Jackson was signed to Warner Bros. Records, and had “But It’s Alright” re-issued as a single. On March 29, 1969, it re-entered at #45 on Billboard charts.

In 1975 he released another single “Let Me Try Again” on the Magna-Glide label, which was owned by the Kasenetz-Katz songwriting duo (whose fame rose during the 60s “bubblegum pop” scene).  This was to be one of his last recordings. The single was notable in a couple of things: Jackson didn’t write or co-write it, and his long-time producer Lew Futterman was not involved in its recording.

Jackson stopped recording songs after 1975. During the 1990s and 2000’s he was active in performing along with the other “oldies” acts such as Chris Montez, The Cuff Links and Chuck Berry.

He may have recorded a few songs. But despite that, at least he has his own claim to fame through his only hit single “But It’s Alright,” which continues to be covered by other artists.

Musical Contributions

R&B, rock, and soul all found a home in JJ Jackson’s music, which was distinguished by its powerful rhythms, memorable melodies, and soulful vocals. He was renowned for having a strong voice and for being able to express emotion via song.

“But It’s Alright,” one of his most well-known songs, was a smash and was later recorded by several musicians. One of Michael Jackson’s most enduring songs became an immediate hit because of its energetic rhythm and memorable lyrics.

“I Dig Girls,” another of Jackson’s well-known songs, was a smash in 1966 and demonstrated his skill for crafting cheerful, entrancing melodies. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he continued to release popular tunes and established himself as a sought-after session musician, contributing to numerous records by other musicians.

J.J. Jackson discography

1. J. Jackson (Calla Records, Sep 1966)

  • A: Boogaloo Baby
  • B: But It’s Alright

2. J. Jackson (Calla Records, Dec 1966)

  • A: I Dig Girls
  • B: That Ain’t Right 

3. J. Jackson (Calla Records, June 1967)

  • A: It Seems Like I’ve Been Here Before
  • B: Till Love Goes Out Of Style

4. J. Jackson (Calla Records, June 1967)

  • A: Four Walls (Three Windows And Two Doors)
  • B: Here We Go Again

5. J. Jackson (Loma Records, Nov 1967)

  • A: Sho Nuff (Got A Good Thing Going)
  • B: Try Me

6. J. Jackson (Loma Records, Feb 1968)

  • A: Down, But Not Out
  • B: Why Does It Take So Long?

7. J. Jackson (Loma, March 1968)

  • A: Come See Me (I’m Your Man)
  • B: I Don’t Want To Live My Life Alone

8. J. Jackson (Loma, July 1968)

  • A: Too Late
  • B: You Do It Cause You Wanna

9. J. Jackson (Loma, 1968)

  • A: Courage Ain’t Strength
  • B: That Ain’t Right

10. J. Jackson (Perception, 1969)

  • A: Nobody’s Gonna Help You (Lessen You Help Yourself)
  • B: Help Me Get To My Grits

11. J. Jackson (Warner Bros., Mar 1969)

  • A: But It’s Alright
  • B: Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

12. J. Jackson (Warner Bros., Aug 1969)

  • A: That Ain’t Right
  • B: Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)

13. J. Jackson (Warner Bros. /Back To Back Hits, 1970)

  • A: But It’s Alright
  • B: Four Walls

14. J. Jackson (Congress, 1970)

  • A: Fat, Black And Together
  • B: Fat, Black And Together

15. J. Jackson (Goldies, 1973)

  • A: But It’s Alright
  • B: Do The Boogaloo

16. J. Jackson (Magna Glide, 1975)

  • A: Let Me Try Again [Mono]
  • B: Let Me Try Again [Stereo]

The Great J. J. Jackson is his second studio album. John Jackson Warner Bros. Records issued the record in 1969.

Following the lucrative 1969 reissue of Jackson’s 1966 smash song “But It’s Alright” by Warner Bros. The rights to Jackson’s debut album, which featured the song “But It’s Alright,” had been purchased by Warner Bros. from Calla Records, the singer’s previous record label. The Great J. J. Jackson includes “But It’s Alright” and four additional songs from Jackson’s debut album. The remaining songs on the album were non-album singles from Calla Records as well as Jackson’s 1968 and 1969 singles’ A-sides and B-sides from Warner Bros. and Loma Records, two labels that were affiliated with Warner Bros. Records.

The Great J.J. Jackson was redistributed on CD by Collector’s Choice in 2009. The remaining songs from Jackson’s first Calla Records album that was not on the first release of The Great J.J. Jackson were included as new tracks on the re-release. Jackson’s full debut album as well as a few of his songs published by Warner Bros. Even though a handful of Jackson’s singles were never put on albums, records were included on one album.

Legacy

Although JJ Jackson passed away in 2004, his music is still heard today and continues to influence musicians. He is regarded as a pioneer in the music industry and is known for his contributions to the R&B, rock and roll, and soul genres. The hallmark of his legacy will always remain his strong voice and capacity to emote via his songs.

Conclusion

The life and songs of JJ Jackson serve as a testament to the continuing appeal of soul music and the influence one individual can have on the music industry. He will always be regarded as a gifted guitarist, singer, and composer who had a lasting impact on the music business and whose legacy continues to motivate musicians to this day.