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Al Jackson Jr.: The Sound Of ’60s Soul

November 20, 2013


Another good article about the great drummer Al Jackson Jr.

From the site:

On the long stream of records that issued from Stax during its glory years, roughly 1965 through ’72, musicians who filled out the fabulous Stax rhythm section, the bare-bones but in-the-pocket Memphis Horns, and the vocalists all plugged directly into the beat. There was no percussion to dress it up, and when strings were brought in for ballads they were written thin, usually in single lines or, if harmonized, with a non-intrusive intimacy (as on Eddie Floyd’s “I’ve Never Found a Girl”).

For this to work, you had to have someone behind the drums who understood the formula. The current had to flow unimpeded, at every speed; the slowest tunes needed that pulse as much as the ones that rode an up-tempo rush.

You needed a drummer who respected the air in the rhythm, who could resist the temptation to fill every hole with reminders of his virtuosity …

… resist, that is, until the perfect fill, perfectly positioned, could explode the tune — like the strike of a match.

On top of that, you needed a drummer whose tempo was perfect, who locked each take down right where it belonged but could ramp it up on stage, where live energy made it appropriate.

All of this ruled out pretty much every drummer on earth at that time save Al Jackson Jr. — and it’s everyone’s good fortune that this amazing musician, who transformed Am


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