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CD Review: "George Jackson in Muscle Shoals"
All (20) songs written by George Jackson
Label: Grapevine
Release Date: 12/18/02

GEORGE HENRY JACKSON was born in 1945 in Indianoia Mississippi (also the birthplace of B. B. King) but was brought up in the nearby town of Greenville. He grew up listening to the gospel sounds of The Soul Stirrers, The Staple Singers and everybody's favorite, Sam Cooke.

Through the sixties George lived in Memphis and did his writing and recording there. In the late sixties, Jackson left Memphis for the red hot recording scene at Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Having signed with Rick Hall (Fame Publishing), George provided some excellent songs for Candi Staton, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter and others. Ironically, the song that brought both money and fame from this period was the pop hit “One Bad Apple” by The Osmonds, which was produced by Hall for MGM Records in 1971.

Within a few years George was disillusioned with the Muscle Shoals scene, so he returned to Memphis to record the cleverly constructed "Aretha, Sing One For Me" which had a strong hook and was a natural for his pleading tone. Not surprisingly, it became a big local hit.

Back in Muscle Shoals, George severed his publishing connections with Rick Hall and went with the crew who left Fame in '69 to set up their own studio “The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio”. The team of Jimmy Johnson, Barry Becket, David Hood and Roger Hawkins were still the best soul musicians in the world and Jackson cut a long series of demos with them from 1977 to around 1981 and many of which form this CD.

Hits too came from his pen at the end of the '70s. "Old Time Rock And Roll" went top ten for Bob Seger, and “It's Too Funky In Here" put brother James Brown back in the top twenty R&B charts in May 1979 the first time for three years. Jackson also produced the Ovations on "Sweet Thing" for XL Records in 1980, the original demo of which is included on the CD. He said recently: "What I would really like to do is cut an album of my own material that I did for other artists...maybe I'll call the album 'George Jackson does George Jackson'. Well this isn't quite that, but it's the next best thing: George Jackson in Muscle Shoals.

Following are comments from George about the songs on the CD and the people playing them:

"All the songs on here are from the era when I was at Muscle Shoals," remembered George. “That had to be in the late '70s 'cause I was out two years after that and I got with Malaco in the early 80s (1982). During that time I wrote some of these songs and cut these tracks."

“I'm not sure who played on all of these songs but on most of them it would be Barry Beckett (keyboards), Jimmy Johnson (guitar), David Hood (bass) and Roger Hawkins (drums) the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section.”

“As for the production, Jimmy Johnson was in charge doing most of this stuff and sometimes Roger, sometimes Barry, Most times they were cut like a regular master session in fact, sometimes they ended up being masters.”

“I was staying back in Memphis at this time, so I would come down from Memphis. When I first started with them (Muscle Shoals Sound), we would 'demo' every other week. We would do seven or eight songs every other week, but then we eventually started doing demos maybe once every two or three months; it kinda depended on what artists they had coming in. I would hear who they had coming in and I would get some songs that I thought would fit the artists."

"I never really thought these songs would get to be heard outside of the studios, but I'm glad though especially with it being these songs; this is a great pick of songs.”

The above comments were drawn from the CD liner notes:

If you are a fan of great soul music and you like to hear a superb singer backed by a tight skilled rhythm section then you need a copy of this CD. I have listened to my copy MANY times and it only gets better. I purchached mine from Amazon.com [Link] using the "Used and New" link (Saved me almost $10). Check-out my tips on purchasing CDs here.

(Don Walker)

When I think of my home town, "Muscle Shoals, Alabama" I can't help but remember the sixties and the seventies and the great music that was recorded here. We were host to the number one music performers of that day. Being a small town of about 12,000 people, the stars could come and go and not ever be recognized or bothered by their fans. Like the day the Rolling Stones leisurely sat on a wall in front of their motel and watched the cars go by, unnoticed by all. Or the time they were eating in a local restaurant and were asked by their server if they were a band. To which one of them answered, "Yes, we're Martha and the Vandellas".
Muscle Shoals Sound building from 1969 to 1979.

A quaint little city nestled on the Tennessee River in the north-west corner of the state of Alabama; Muscle Shoals produced some of the best music ever recorded. There was a very good reason as to why this happened, God blessed this area with some talented musicians and music promoters. From Rick Hall and his F.A.M.E. Recording Studio to the "right-on" beat of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section the music that came from my home town was the best because the people are the best.

The Muscle Shoals area is made up of (4) small cities grouped together on the Tennessee River. Florence is on the north side of the river and Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals are located on the south side. These four cities are called "The Shoals". W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues", was born in Florence and Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia. Also, the University of North Alabama is located in Florence.

The purpose of this web page is to present to the world what happened in my home town that would prompt History Magazine to call it "The South that was Heard 'Round the World".

Be sure to visit my radio station on 365Live.com and listen to some of this great music. If you have broadband you will hear CD quality sound without breaks. Click on the link to the left and treat your ears to the Muscle Shoals Sound!

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On this page you will find miscellaneous information about the web site, our purpose for being on the web and an introductory statement.
A Timeline of what has happened in Muscle Shoals dealing with music for the last 50 years.
A list of the albums that I have collected which were recorded in or associated in some way with Muscle Shoals, my reviews on some of my favorite Muscle Shoals Music and help for you in collecting your own. I have also included a list of many albums and singles that were recorded in Muscle Shoals.
A list of known artists that have recorded in the Muscle Shoals studios.
This page contains special articles on artists that have recorded in Muscle Shoals and info on the places where they recorded.
Here you will find links to web pages dealing with the music of Muscle Shoals and the artists that played it.
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