Photo by Ruth Morgan
“I always sing live. I don’t use those instrumental tracks like many of today’s singers. For me, giving the audience my all is the key to my success.”
Legendary R&B singer Chuck Jackson is just as busy now as he was in the 1960s when he was a regular visitor to the R&B charts with such hits as “I Don’t Want to Cry,” “Any Day Now,” and “Tell Him I’m Not Home.”
These days the smooth baritone performs at corporate affairs and benefits but spends much of his time touring Europe with his seven-piece band. “I always sing live. I don’t use those instrumental tracks like many of today’s singers,” says Jackson. “For me, giving the audience my all is the key to my success.”
Universal/Motown Records is releasing “Lost and Found” a 2CD set of three albums by Jackson during his years with Motown. “This is stuff I recorded with Motown that was never released,” stated Jackson. “Unfortunately, it’s only available in Europe since I had a lot of hits over there during those days.”
Jackson is also the special events producer for the Apollo Theater. “My job is to bring in the larger acts from my period.” He also works on the Apollo Legends Series with Apollo’s president Jonelle Procope, as well as Steve Jones and Shirley Matthews.
“We are committed to bringing in former Apollo headliners and others who were billed and are just as significant in making this a world famous institution.”
Jackson’s alma mater, South Carolina State University, will be presenting him with an honorary doctorate degree in music later this year. He was the first student to attend the university on a music scholarship.
Jackson started his career with the Raspberry Gospel Singers before a year’s stint with the famous doo-wop group the Del-Vikings. “After one of our performances Jackie Wilson told me if I wanted to leave the group he would put me on his show at the Apollo Theatre,” explained Jackson. “It wasn’t a difficult decision.”
After his first show at the Apollo, he remembers Wilson saying, “I did not bring you here to just sing, you got to perform.” When Jackson opened the next show he says, “I started moving and falling on my knees.” That performance landed Jackson his contract with Scepter Records, and the rest is in the annals of R&B history.
—by DON THOMAS AND RON SCOTT