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Russell Jackson
"Have Mercy"

Following Review Courtesy of Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro MAY 2008

Once again, here I am about to discuss another CD from Canada. The enormous amount of submissions I get from our neighbor to the north is interesting. What I also find interesting is the enormous number of musicians that appear on most of these discs. Rarely, or more accurately - never, do I ever receive a CD from the Canucks that consists of your basic guitarist, drummer and bassist. Doing their best to keep the unemployment rate down, several different players on several different instruments are very commonly used. Which, by the way, with the number of very qualified blues musicians living in that country, makes this a good thing. It's been extremely pleasant to have been exposed to all of this wonderful talent.

Having said that, let me now introduce you to the dozen stars that appear on RUSSELL JACKSON'S "HAVE MERCY" CD. Joining RUSSELL, on electric and acoustic bass, vocals, background vocals and tambourine are: KENNY "BLUES BOSS" WAYNE on piano, keyboards and B3 organ; THEO BROWN on drums; JOHNNY FERREIRA and STEVE HILLIAM on tenor sax; TERRY TOWNSON on trumpet; BRANDON ISSACS on lead and rhythm guitar, dobro, snare and high hat; DAVID HOERL on harmonica; ROBERT STEPHAN on lead and rhythm guitar and lap steel; RICK CHRISTOPHERSON on lead, rhythm and acoustic guitar; JOHN ELLIS on pedal steel; JEFF NYSTROM on background vocals.

On the opening and title track, "HAVE MERCY", the lyrics tell a very real and very disappointing story. RUSSELL points out that although the blues gave birth to Jazz and Rock & Roll - from which funk, R&B, soul, rap, hop, country and heavy metal all derived, the blues is barely ever mentioned in class and all they do is talk pop, classical, and a whole lot of jazz. I share his sentiments as he sings to "Have mercy for the blues".

Get ready to put on your "DANCIN' SHOES" when this track comes on. It starts out with JOHNNY blowin' smoke out of the tenor sax and gets hotter with each players contributions, especially when the BLUES BOSS starts fanning the flames on piano. Great vocals by RUSSELL and an all out jam session by the band make this one of the discs best.

"TOSSIN' 'N TURNIN'", is sure to get you tappin' and snappin'. Definitely another of the discs best. The great rhythm that RUSSELL, THEO and KENNY lock into, the sharp - and I do mean sharp - harp blowin' by DAVID, the tremendous sounds coming from BRANDON'S dobro and the precision vocal harmony between RUSSELL and JEFF make this a hell of a toe tapping sing along. 

It seems that a party RUSSELL was at got a bit too boisterous that "THEY RAIDED THE JOINT". Don't ya just hate when that happens? This hot shuffle is another of the many highlights on "HAVE MERCY". This one features KENNY working his usual magic on piano, ROBERT supplying the hot guitar riffs and RUSSELL singing his heart out.

"WORKING WITH MY BABY" is a soft, steamy ballad. The velvet vocals, the rustling rhythm, the gentle guitar, the tender tickling of the ivories and the sultry sounds of the sax make this one smolder. The slow dancers will swoon over this one.

"Other equally outstanding tracks - of which most are originals - on "HAVE MERCY" are: "SHOW ME THE DOOR", "TALK ATCHA", "A WOMAN NEEDS", "HOWLIN' AT THE MOON", "BRAND NEW LIFE", BECOMING THE BLUES", "LOVE ALL AROUND" and "FUNKY HIDE AWAY". 

Like me, you may be unaware that RUSSELL was B B KING'S bass player for about a dozen years. To find out many of the other notable blues folk he played with, stop by his My Space page at .......... http://www.myspace.com/therusselljacksonbandpage. While you're there, give him a shout and tell him Blewzzman sent ya. While you're at it, pick up a disc as well.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ http://www.mary4music.com/

About Russell Jackson

Russell Jackson played bass for B.B. King's band for eight years or so. He left the B.B.King Orchestra to attend the prestigious Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles where he studied electric and acoustic bass. Later in 1987 Russell would go on to form the highly acclaimed rhythm section known as Silent Partners. 

Russell toured and recorded with artists such as Charlie Musselwhite, Matt "Guitar" Murphy ,Katie Webster, Sonny Rhodes, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Willie Nelson as well as headlining dates with Silent Partners. 

Russell later relocated to Vancouver where he formed the Russell Jackson Band. In 1994 the group recorded The Alley Man CD on the StoneBluz Label. 

In 1996, the music video Show Me The Door was released on the Bravo! Network in the U.S and Canada. 

1998 was an busy and exciting year for Russell finding time between tours to sit down and write his own distinct brand of Blues culminating with the release of the album Becoming Blue in 1999.

Russell's most recent release(June2007) Have Mercy features Russell's distinct and identifiable brand of music.

All of Russell's cds have all received critical acclaim.

It is his purpose to honor the tradition of the blues blending in a contemporary component of high energy funk and jazz.

Drummer Theo Brown has an impressive background as well performing with notable performers such as Randy Brecker, Luther Allison, Bernard Allison, Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland, Michael Coleman, Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones, Janiva Magness, Taj Mahal, Sonny Rhodes, Bernie Worrell.

Russell Jackson and Theo Brown also played on Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne's 2006 Juno award winning cd "Let It Loose" on the Electro-Fi label.

The Russell Jackson Band interview by Musician MP3 content management.

How would you describe the band if you were a pressman or an editor? 
A combination of highly talented musicians competent in various genres of music who never fail to impress.

Why did you choose your name? 
Founded by none other than Russell Jackson. That's a no brainer.

What type of music do you play? 
Blues mixed with a dash of funk and jazz and everything in between.

How long have you been together? 
The band has been together in several different incarnations and configurations for almost 15 years or so. The core of the band is Russell Jackson and Theo Brown.

What have you released to date? 
The Alleyman and I'm Becoming the Blues and most recently "Have Mercy".

When are you planning your next release? 
The new release "Have Mercy" has been out about 8 weeks or so.

What is your favorite song to perform and Why? 
The bands favorite song to perform is probably Funky Hideaway as each member is showcased on this tune.

Who are the best bands you preformed with? 
The band members have all played with a who's who but by far B.B. King, Sonny Rhodes, Crusaders....Just to mention a few.

Where are you planning for your next shows? 
extensive North American tour.

Any last words? See you on the road

Russell Jackson In Session at Studio 80

http://www.myspace.com/therusselljacksonbandpage

http://www.myspace.com/bookbluenote