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Music 4 The Soul: Millie Jackson & The Dramatics
May 7 2017
Details of Millie Jackson and the Ticket Luck value
An American R&B/Soul music singer/songwriter, Millie Jacksons career has spanned more than 30 years, 26 albums, and a slew of top-20 R&B singles. She is best known for the sexually explicit R&B which has kept most of her music off radio playlists throughout her entire career.
Jackson openly admits that she never had singing lessons and never thought she could sing. Consequently, she began to talk (or what was commonly known at the time as rap) on her songs in a blunt, candid manner to make up for the shortcoming and had her fourth Top Ten single with country singer Merle Haggard's If You're Not Back in Love by Monday (Billboard country charts number two).
Millie Jackson has been an accomplished singer of gritty soul since the early 1970s. The same raunchiness that stunted her popularity has earned her a cult following, and many of today's more salacious rap performers have Jackson to thank for paving their way.
She grew up influenced by the sounds of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and later, the O'Jays.Her career started on a dare. The Georgia native was working as a waitress in New York in 1964 when she and some friends dropped by a Harlem club on talent night.
The others bullied Jackson to take a turn at the microphone and she turned in such a stirring version of the Ben E. King hit Dont Play That Song (You Lied) that she landed a singing job. For the next few years, Jackson played various New York clubs and even toured with Sam Cookes brother, L.C.
By 1969 she had created enough of a buzz to eventually sign with Spring Records, where she not only managed herself but also led her own band and headed a production company. Jackson's strongest weapon was her ability to mix her sweet singing voice with half-sung, half-rapped, brutal sexual politics.
This was a new art form of music, which had a woman telling it like it is. She wasn't weak. This was the early 70's and Ms. Jackson said hello to the music world, with A Child Of God. then Ask Me What You Want, followed by My Man Is A Sweet Man. Jackson got off to a fast start at Spring Records when her first single reached No. 22 on the R&B chart in 1971.
The single, A Child of God (Its Hard to Believe), was heavily influenced by the social commentary found in Mayfield records of the time. The next single, Ask Me What You Want, climbed to No. 4 on the R&B chart and into the Top 30 on the pop chart. Underscoring the ambition and range of her records, Ask mixed the lilt of Motown hits with the harder-edge vocals found on most Stax recordings.
Her single Hurts So Good in 1973 was the defining point for Jacksons style. It was another Top 10 R&B hit, and the arrangement of the song was framed in the Southern soul style favored by Otis Redding and other Stax artists. The single bore the title of her album and was also featured on the movie soundtrack for Cleopatra Jones. Jackson produced the album with Brad Shapiro. However, she was only given credit for the album concept.
In January of 1975, Jackson released the album that would introduce what would later become her trademark rap style of racy, raunchy language; her audience loved it. The album was Caught Up and the featured release was If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right, for which she received two Grammy nominations. Millie's 1977 opus, Feelin' Bitchy represents something of bridge between the deep soul sound of her early career and the crazy, camp stylings that mark her later output. In 1977, it was a refreshing alternative to the Lynard Skinner, Jackson Brown and Grateful Dead songs that were almost religious anthems.
As the 80s dawned, Millie moved into dance and even rap! Basically, she has done everything without losing the quality that sets her apart from the crowd - the unnerving ability to connect with the listener by putting herself squarely in their shoes. The 80s saw Ms. Jackson going in all sorts of directions, turning in quality work that ranged from country (an especially winning version of Tom Jans Loving Arms) to rock-accented ballads (Bad Companys Feel Like Making Love).
But her trademark became the records, such as Leftovers and All the Way Lover, that dealt so bluntly with the sexual side of relationships that Jackson became better known as a sharp-tongued concert provocateur than as a gifted R&B vocalist. She contributed to the image with such album titles as Live & Outrageous.
In addition to her impressive music career, Jackson wrote the play Young Man, Older Woman; the play toured for four years. In 1994 she celebrated her 50th birthday in Atlanta at a surprise party thrown by her daughter, singer Keisha Jackson, and Al Wash, CEO of ALW Entertainment Co. Inc. the company that was handling the national tour of Young Man, Older Woman.
She's also recorded with the late great Isaac Hayes, and also with Elton John, to name a few. Then she wrote a CD for the church folks called, For Church Folk. Her attention, though, has turned to the broadcast booth as a radio program host on the afternoon radio show in Dallas, TX. Recently Ms. Jackson has stepped onto the stage to give her fans what they want as a forceful and entertaining performer.
Her humorous anecdotes simply resonate with people from all backgrounds because at one time or another we have all been in situations that she so poignantly describes. Her rapport with her audience is remarkable and her live versions of her standard hits all are fresh and sparkling! Master showman, strong songs, and excellent performances!