Al Jackson Jr.: The Sound Of 60s Soul
Super great fantastic article I stumbled over while thinking about Al Jackson, Jr.
That moment comes, on “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” four bars past the beginning of the vamp leading toward the fade. He flagged this section with a transitional lick, repeated three times, after which he kicks into the home stretch, imperceptibly notching the tempo down. Of course, this builds the tension even more, and with that Redding, a gut-busting, hyperventilating, strangle-voiced shouter, goes deep into the gospel well, barking through his ad-libs: “I can’t, uh, turn you loose. Never, I’m never gonna turn you lose. I’m gonna keep holding on … turn you lose. Gonna keep a grip on you, I can’t turn you loose …” He’s a one-man call and response, preacher and choir, asking for and hollering back his own amens.
And then, out of nowhere, Jackson is on the snare, pounding straight-eights on the last bar, circling around the toms, and ending with a crash – the first in the entire song – on the first beat of bar nine. That’s all it takes, no more or less, to rocket these few seconds into groove immortality. In fact, no disrespect to the mighty Otis Redding, it is the detail that elevates this from being merely a great performance to reaching the peak of this singer’s up-tempo catalog.
Here’s some Al Jackson, Jr with Booker T. and the MG’s doing “Time Is Tight”. Oh yeah!