Friday, June 26, 2020

"Jam Tonight" by Freddie Jackson

Song#:  3176
Date:  06/27/1987
Debut:  79
Peak:  32
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Jackson's second album, Just Like the First Time, was a huge success spending 26 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. By this point in time it had already generated a pair of #1's and a #2 hit and featured another #1 duet with Melba Moore that had been released earlier in '86. Yet the success at R&B didn't really translate to the Pop chart. Only two singles had managed to crossover to pop, but neither cracked the Top 40. With the album still selling well, this fourth solo single from the LP was released. It would easily become Jackson's sixth song to top the R&B chart. The tune then crossed over to the Pop chart and although it wasn't a major hit, it did at least become his fourth Top 40 entry. A fifth and final single from the album, "Look Around," would break his string of R&B hits and peak at a low #62. However, it didn't really matter because the LP had long hit the platinum sales level.

ReduxReview:  This easygoing track had a late-70s soul feel to it, which is not surprising since it was written near the turn of the decade (see below). The production kind of takes a backseat to Jackson's voice and that is both good and bad. The slight production allowed Jackson's terrific vocals to stand out, but the weak 80s production didn't do anything to enhance Jackson's performance. These days it nearly sounds like a karaoke accompaniment. It probably sounded better back in the day, but if the track had a meatier production and arrangement, I think this song could have done even better.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Jackson and his producer/co-writer Paul Lawrence wrote this song in the early 80s when they teamed up in New York. The track was originally titled "Jam Song" and it was first recorded by soul/disco singer Howard Johnson. Johnson had recorded two albums with the band Niteflyte whose best effort was the 1979 single "If You Want It" (#21 R&B/#37 Pop). He then set out on a solo career signing with A&M Records. Paul Lawrence would produce tracks for the album and he got Johnson to record "Jam Song" for his debut album Keepin' Love New. It would not be released as a single. The LP's lead single, "So Fine," would reach #1 on the Dance chart and #6 R&B. It was Johnson's biggest hit. He did two more albums for A&M but none of the singles would do as well and his charting days came to an end.


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