from Jackson, MS
August 18, 1921 - July 1, 1979 (age 57)
This Chicago blues artist was a driving force in the rhythm sections that recorded on many of the finest sides cut in the '70s, such as the intense Master of Modern Blues album by Johnny Shines on the Testament label. Although a fine guitarist in his own right, Jackson mostly recorded in the bass role, a part that although vitally functional in the music almost always guarantees anonymity on the part of the individual. But although largely unknown by name, the playing style of Jackson is vastly influential. Many young blues and rock players who got into roots music in the '80s cut their teeth on these records, the bassists copping so many of Jackson's licks that one might think the country chestnut about "goin' to" Jackson was about them. The man's work on guitar is featured on the Big Boss Men collection of Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed on the Indigo label, and he handled both instruments on his collaborations with the wonderful J.B. Hutto, also documented on several top-notch Delmark albums. One unfortunate and definitely final development that places him amongst an elite but distressingly large group of bluesmen was the fact that he was murdered, although the details of Jackson's slaying are not widely known. He is often confused with other musicians who share his admittedly common name, although the listener should definitely not believe in the existence of a single musical superhero if one man who could play blues with Sunnyland Slim, bass with the progressive rock group the Nice, and country picking with Lacy Gibson. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi
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