Wednesday, August 29, 2012

J.J. Jackson: But It's Alright

Today’s one-hit wonder is a single that became more popular after it charted than when it peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 in December 1966. The late in the year release date probably hampered the sales and airplay of J.J. Jackson’s hit “But It’s Alright.” Typically when a single moves up the chart during December, it is the kiss of death – or at least it was.

At least when I was in radio, Christmas music dominated the airwaves during December and the record industry grinded to a screeching halt. Apparently, that is what happened to Jackson. By the time January 1967 turned the page on the calendar, “But it’s Alright” was a distant memory in recurrent rotation if it was that lucky. Case in point -- the single only peaked at 22.

It is difficult to believe that this song, which was a dance classic in the 60s and later and an oldies radio favorite, failed to break into the Top 20. Records that performed much better and gained more airplay than “But it’s Alright” have taken a back seat on oldies radio to Jackson's one-hit wonder. When I was doing mobile DJ work in the 80s and 90s, this tune was guaranteed to fill the dance floor once the beginning guitar chords pumped through the speakers.

Recorded in Great Britain, the single featured some the UK’s best jazz musicians including Terry Smith on guitar, Dick Morrissey on sax, and John Marshall on drums. All three later became part of Jackson’s touring band. The song also evokes the memory of marching bands at a Friday night high school football game with the simple sounds of a glockenspiel. Add a key change and the right channel reverb and what more could you want?

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