Thursday, March 17, 2011

WALTER JACKSON: "NOT YOU" (1966)

Walter Jackson

Click above to hear "Not You."

With a voice reminiscent of (but so much warmer than) the great Barry White, Walter Jackson had all the makings of a superstar. His voice dripped with honey-drenched longing and resilience. It was a voice that vividly betrayed his difficult life, and earned him a modest but devoted stable of fans that continue to keep his memory alive.

"Not You" wasn't a Walter Jackson original, but of the many recorded versions, his may be the most heartfelt. Jackson's powerful, bombastic delivery (which builds as the song rolls along) heartbreakingly conveys his desperate, confused reaction to be being betrayed by the woman he loves.

Walter Jackson, a native of Pensacola, Florida, was born in 1938, and showed a musical aptitude at an early age. Striken by Polio as a youth, Jackson refused to let his diminished physical ability derail his ambitions. Performing on crutches, he slogged his way from label to label, from venue to venue, turning heads and breaking hearts with his unique vocal ability. His recording of "Uphill Climb to the Top" remains a staple of any great soul collection.

Walter Jackson's career, sadly, came to a premature end when he was felled by a stroke in 1983. While he may be gone, in the hearts of every true soul fanatic, he will live forever. There has never been another voice like the one Walter Jackson brought to this world.

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