Bull Moose Jackson

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Bull Moose Jackson
Bull Moose Jackson.jpg
Background information
Birth name Benjamin Clarence Jackson
Born (1919-04-22)April 22, 1919
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died July 31, 1989(1989-07-31) (aged 70)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Genres Blues, R&B
Occupation(s) Singer, saxophonist
Instruments Vocals, saxophone
Years active Early 1940s–1989

Benjamin Clarence "Bull Moose" Jackson (April 22, 1919 – July 31, 1989)[1] was an American blues and rhythm and blues singer and saxophonist, who was most successful in the late 1940s.

Career[edit]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, United States,[2] he played violin as a child, but quickly became drawn to the saxophone and started his first band, The Harlem Hotshots, while he was still in high school. In 1943, he was recruited as a saxophonist by bandleader Lucky Millinder,[2] and the musicians in Millinder's band gave him the nickname "Bull Moose" for his appearance.[1] He began singing when required to stand in for Wynonie Harris at a show in Texas.

Millinder encouraged Jackson to sign a solo contract with Syd Nathan of King Records to play rhythm and blues. The first recorded in his own right was in 1946, with "I Know Who Threw the Whiskey", an answer song to Millinder's "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well".[1] The following year, his recording of "I Love You, Yes I Do" reputedly became the first R&B single to sell a million copies, holding the #1 spot on the R&B chart for three weeks and crossing over to the pop chart, where it made #24.

He formed his own group, The Buffalo Bearcats, and over the next five years recorded in a wide variety of musical styles, including both romantic crooning and bawdy jump blues. Other big hits in 1948 included the double-sided hit "All My Love Belongs to You" / "I Want a Bowlegged Woman", and his biggest R&B chart hit, "I Can't Go on Without You", which stayed at # 1 on the R&B chart for eight weeks. He also made an appearance in the 1948 film, Boarding House Blues, with Millinder.[1]

In 1949, he covered "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me" a song that been successful for Wayne Raney as well as several country and western performers.[3]

Jackson toured throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. Around 1951, his band included bebop composer and arranger Tadd Dameron on piano, and another jazz musician, Benny Golson, on saxophone.

Some of Jackson's later risqué material, including "Big Ten Inch Record" and "Nosey Joe" (written by Leiber and Stoller), caused a sensation during live performances, but were too suggestive for the radio and few records of them were sold. However, his band faithfully played "Big Ten Inch Record" at every show.

By the mid-50s, Jackson got tired of touring and retired from music to work for a catering firm in Washington DC, although he occasionally still performed at private parties. In 1961, he re-recorded "I Love You, Yes I Do" with modernized high-fidelity and had a minor hit.

20 years later, The Flashcats, a blues band that performed in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, were regularly featuring a cover of "Big Ten Inch Record" in their setlist, undoubtedly inspired by rock group Aerosmith covering the song on their 1975 album Toys In The Attic. A local DJ reputedly told The Flashcats that he knew Bull Moose Jackson and frontman Carl Grefensette found him catering at Howard University. Grefensette convinced Jackson to perform with them and they quickly became a sensation in the western Pennsylvania area. Jackson then made The Flashcats his official backing band and began a career revival. He also recorded a comeback album, Moosemania!.

During the 1980s, Jackson, now in his 60s, had an extremely successful run performing in the US and internationally. However, he fell ill with lung cancer in 1987 and retired from the touring circuit during the spring of 1988. An old girlfriend of his came back to care for him during his final illness and he died in Cleveland on July 31, 1989.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Allmusic biography – accessed January 2008
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 121. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 280. 

External links[edit]