Written by Michael Pittman
May 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
ImageIf ever there was an artist who needed to release a CD it’s this one.  I’ve been a fan of Ricky Jackson’s ever since I first saw him at the Corner Pub in Conroe sometime last summer. If I can help it, I never miss the chance to see him play no matter where he is. There are some artists I just like to sit back and listen to just because it’s nice to be able to take off the “media” hat every once in a while and just dig on the music. Ricky has always been one of those for me, but this time I want to put the hat back on and give you the heads up on an artist that deserves your attention.  Ricky is a one of a kind gentleman and never have I seen him give an audience less than 100% of his considerable skill and talent.

Jackson has either opened up for or played with some of music’s legends such as Delbert McClinton, Storyville, Aaron Neville, The Loving Spoonful, Percy Sledge, Steppenwolf, and Ian Moore.

I’ve been to the Twin Oaks Tavern once before this night and on both occasions enjoyed it tremendously. It’s an intimate room that’s actually divided into two adjoining rooms, one for listening and the other for visiting with friends. The bar is well stocked and clean as is the entire establishment.  The service is friendly and attentive which always scores high in my book and only adds to the enjoyment of the music. Be ready for it, because they don’t mind carrying the tip jar around either!

Jackson actually has a number of musicians he draws from and depending on the gig; he’ll pull together an electric hard-driving band, or a funky acoustic band. Some of the players are people he’s played with for years such as Dave Youngblood on bass and others are fairly recent additions like James Gilmer on percussion. You remember James from Lyle Lovett’s band as one talented guy who sparkles at being able to lay just the right rhythm down, or just the right percussive touch to punctuate the ebb and flow of a song. It’s a pleasure to watch one of music’s true gentlemen play with such world-class experience.

ImageIf I were to describe Jackson’s music I’d have to put Bill Withers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Larry Carlton and a little bit of Dr. John thrown in for the sake of Jackson’s Louisiana roots.  John Philips of the old Mamas and Papas used to rehearse the vocals till they would get so tight that it would seem as if a 5the voice was in the mix when there really wasn’t. It was a part of their sound. Ricky’s playing reminds me of that sort of thing to where even while he’s playing a lead on an acoustic guitar, you can almost hear a 2nod guitar on backup. It’s how his renditions of Withers “Use Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” take on a whole new personality..it’s not lounge music anymore. Slipping from there into “Old Love”, a Clapton cover is a natural for Jackson, then bouncing back into Grand Funk Railroad’s “I’m Your Captain” leaves you amazed that he was able to pull it all off so seamlessly. Take it over to a super-funky Superstition for example and suddenly the party is started!

Dave Youngblood was on hand this evening who is Jackson’s long time bass player and a great songwriter on his own. His blues are drawn from his life and like any good bluesman, from his soul. It’s no small wonder that Jackson and Youngblood have been around so long and the jokes fly back and forth between them to prove it. They don’t even call the songs out any more, they know each other so well that it just takes a couple bars of intro and they’re off.

This evening we had a special surprise in the person of Chris Cook of the Cornell Hurd Band. Chris is an Austin native, but is no stranger to the Houston Music Scene.  His washboard playing was so great that the BAND asked for an encore! We in the audience all agreed…hats off to Chris for a job well done.
Any single show just gives you a glimpse of Jackson’s almost eclectic set of projects so it really takes more than one show to “see” him. Future gigs and sample tunes at www.rickyjackson.net. And when you see him, ask him when that CD is coming out!!