The eldest Jackson brother Jackie already had eight albums to his credit as a member of The Jackson Five when he released his self-titled debut on October 14th, 1973. Following his younger brothers Michael and Jermaine’s footsteps, Jackie keeps the same essence with his solo debut that highlights his talent away from the group.
Jackie opens the project with the ballad “Love Don’t Want To Leave,” produced by The Corporation. The song is seventies soul at its finest, and if was I alive to DJ in the seventies, it’s definitely a cut that I would play during the quiet storm. Jackie keeps the balladry going on the next track, “It’s So Easy.” The song is a safe choice. The label head Berry Gordy knew what he wanted to do with Jackie’s album and this same vibe is prevalent throughout Jackie’s debut.
Beatrice Verdi & Christine Yarian contribute production and writing to the next track, “Thanks To You, which is another love song. By the time we reached track number four though, I wanted something to dance to. While listening to the album, I feel that perhaps Berry Gordy and possibly Jackie’s father, Joe, wanted him to fill Motown’s balladeer void. Marvin Gaye had left the ballads behind with his What’s Going On and Trouble Man albums, so I can understand Berry’s thought process. The problem is the material is just too safe to get him there. One of the album’s missteps arrives with Jackie’s cover of “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” Jackie sings the song well, but just doesn’t reach William Hart’s falsetto’s heights.
“Do I Owe” briefly regains the album’s momentum; although the song is another ballad, Jackie sings well. Jackie was twenty-two when the album was released. I can’t help but wonder why Jackie’s solo didn’t just focus on the joys of being single and living his best life.
The next three tracks are borderline fillers, and while Jackie has a great singing voice, he certainly deserves better. Jackie closes his album out with the Berry Gordy & Smokey Robinson penned “Bad Girl,” where the singer seems to have found his niche.
All of the Jackson brothers can sing, and the group was still five years away from the release of what many consider their best album, Destiny. Given how famous The Jackson Five was at the time, it’s no surprise that Jackie’s solo debut didn’t do that well on the charts, primarily due to the predictability in the album.
The wise choice for Jackie’s solo debut would’ve been to enlist the production talents of Norman Whitfield, Barret Strong, and even Stevie Wonder. Any one of three men would have given Jackie a solid up-tempo or a funk number. Until the album arrived on streaming platforms a few years back, Jackie Jackson solo album was tough to find and the wait was worth it for the die hard fans. That being said, Jackie’s solo debut isn’t a bad one, it’s just overly repetitive and safe.
Final Grade C+
Top Tracks: “Love Don’t Want To Leave,” “Bad Girl,” and “Do I Owe.”
Jackie Jackson is available on all streaming platforms.