The fabulous Jackson Four



Peter Jackson is the dynamic, high-octane front man of The Jackson Four, yep four, not 4, and showbiz ain’t no stranger to him either. When you grow up in England with a father, Peter ‘Hank’ Jackson working at Abbey Road Studios for a decade from 1960 on, during the Beatles era, you’re going to meet some pretty interesting people.

As a young boy, Jackson met The Beatles several times while waiting for his dad in the studio’s lunchroom. During breaks in their recording sessions, the lads would often buy him drinks or ice cream and chat and joke around with him. He also met Celia Black, Petula Clark, Eric Clapton, The Hollies, Freddie & The Dreamers, and Graham Nash before he went to America to form Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Wow what a resume!

In fact, during the recording of Yellow Submarine song, to add a sense of reality, The Beatles recorded it in the boiler room with the help of Peter’s dad who lent his voice to the mix of background voices saying “Captain, Captain, full speed ahead Mr. Jackson, full speed ahead,” as well as making the banging and clanging sounds you hear during the song.

When the family moved to Australia a few years later, his dad got a job working at 3DB radio station on The Dick Cranbourne Show, which was a travelling country music show, big in the ’50s and ’60s. This gave rise to the younger Jackson performing on the show, kick-starting his career in the industry.

A few years later, Peter junior did his first demo tape with Greg Macainsh of Skyhooks fame followed by gigging in various bands. However in 1985 he joined a wicked rhythm and blues band called The Racouters, “Teller of Tall Tales” and gained notoriety.

Jumping forward to present day, this vital and very experienced muso has his own band, The Jackson Four, an accomplished 4-piece outfit with a big attitude and dynamic, tight sound. With the likes of Jeff Mead on sax, Nick Miriesch on drums, Peter Jackson with vocals and percussion (these three have gigged together since 1989 from the days of Sticky Soul band), and newer member Gary Jones on a Hammond B3 organ, The Jackson Four are making headways in reputation and giving solid performances. There’s no guitar in this band and quite frankly, none is needed. 

Says Jackson, “Late in 2012 I had the idea that a quartet with just sax, drums, vocal, and percussion built around the Hammond B3 Organ could make for an interesting sound and texture. And of course musical adventure! With handpicked musicians and style that occupy the space where Blues meets Jazz, or the crossroads of Blues and Jazz if you like. It wasn’t that we were against guitars; it was more that we wanted to see if we could build a distinctive Blues-Jazz sound based around the Hammond B3.”

Jackson’s dynamic personality and showbiz persona oozes through and his timing and rhythm is tight and energetic. He knows how to draw the crowd out and get them involved in the music.

Their sound is best described as “Georgie Fame meets Louis Jordan, both get drunk and go to New Orleans and my goodness, what a jam that is!” They have taken the cool blues of Georgie Fame’s R&B snug, jazzy sound and mixed it with the jump, jive and swing of Louis Jordan.

Tight, polished, sophisticated and full of grunt!

The Jackson Four’s new album, Love the Life captures their vibrancy with trance like Louisiana rhythms and crossroads of blues, groove and jazz. The classic sound of the Hammond B3 is infused with the interplay of sax and soulful vocals to form the band’s characteristic sound, all underpinned by a foundation of rhythmic grooves from drums and percussion to round out the quartet.

Internationally, the album has had continuous airplay on a number of programs on iconic New Orleans station WWOZ, the station that was a central character of its own in the popular TV series “Treme.”

“We visited New Orleans earlier this year and had the privilege of meeting and jamming with many of New Orleans/Louisiana finest musicians, including legendary trumpeter and singer, Kermit Ruffins, whom we exchanged CDs with! Our rendition of the song “Congo Square” on the album is dedicated to the generous artists of the Congo Square Preservation Society who invited us to perform with them in Congo Square, which is part of the Louis Armstrong Memorial Park.”

Love the Life is being played on many radio stations in Europe and the UK, as well as making headways around our Australian shores on most of the blues radio shows. 

The Jackson Four plan to write and produce their second album, and that’s going to be something to look forward to as half of it will be made up of original songs, including a guest horn section, guest players and female vocals. Something I look forward to hearing because if it is as good as Love the Life then it will be absolutely awesome!

The Jackson Four are back at The Heritage in Balnarring in December and January and gigging at various local venues in between.

Bookings (61) 0419230860

First published in Mint Magazine – December 2015

Author: Anne-Marie Tunks

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