You've Been Very Good To Me - Ralph "Soul" Jackson

from the album "The Alabama Love Man" (2012)

When I first stumbled across this record, I could not help but ask myself "How does someone earn the moniker "The Alabama Love Man?"  I once knew a guy called "The Detroit Piston of Love," but that was mostly wishful self-promotion.  My gut told me that this guy meant it.  Was he sneaking thru back doors, leaving women with a little sugar in their bowls, or was it something more?

After listening to this record, I realize that he earns his title by creating a brand of thick, romantic soul that has been missing since Al Green was in his prime.  Why did people stop producing records with this sound?

You've Been Very Good To Me transports you to the early-70's world of sexy, black R&B and Soul from the first beat, with the ascending horn intro serving as a duet with Ralph "Soul" Jackson's textured falsetto, that climbs and climbs the vocal register leaving me with chills at each step along the way.  I listen to this intro over and over.  It is amazing.  The band then falls into the groove and the the singer introduces the song, like any good frontman from that past era:

This song for all the pretty ladies out there, that been real good to their man.  And this is dedicated to you, from Ralph "Soul" Jackson...

With that introduction, he answers any question about who holds the title of The Alabama Love Man.  Now the song kicks into gear.  I keep getting pulled into the tone of the rhythm guitar, stinging you with its treble. That tone would one day help define the disco sound. The organ is also catching my ear, lurking low in the mix, subtly shaping the vibe.

But it is really all about the vocals of Ralph "Soul" Jackson and the horns that counterbalance his power, his range, and his soul.  If you're gonna play this music, you have to deliver the goods. He does.

Click Here to watch the band take the stage at The Chicago Blues Festival in 2009.  I'll post a link to this song as soon as I stumble across one.  However, in the mean time...

Click Here to catch him doing a take in his recording studio.  This is where the magic of Southern Soul happens.

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