The death of George Jackson earlier this year was both a surprise and a shock to all of us at Ace – particularly toDean Rudlandand yours truly, who have been so involved in the issue of his recordings over the past few years. Having met George and enjoyed his company only a couple of years ago, Dean and I found it especially hard to believe that this charming man, who made us feel as if we’d known him all our lives would no longer be part of soul music’s future.
Fortunately he left behind many great songs to remember him by and a quite formidable stockpile of his own recordings of those songs. Kent’s earlier CDs of George’s recordings hold their own with any of the Southern soul compilations of the last 25 years. Sad as it is that George isn’t here to see our programme through to its conclusion, we’re happy that there is still much more to come from this supremely talented man.
“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.
The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.
By Tony Rounce