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Jackie Ross - Selfish One

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Published on Apr 4, 2008

This breathtakingly beautiful song, "Selfish One", first released on Chess Records, as well as being a true Sixties Northern Soul classic, actually made number eleven on the US pop charts in 1964. Jackie also recorded the amazing "Keep Your Chin Up", one of the most beautiful and optimistic soul songs ever written in the history of our music, and that fantabulous gem was the second favourite all time record of my late lamented friend Les Cokell, coming second only to Ray Pollard's immortal classic, "The Drifter", and we filmed Jackie performing both of these classics, and were blessed to be able to re-record both songs with her as well, for our documentary, "The Strange World Of Northern Soul". Jackie is still consummately elegant, stylish and beautiful, forty four years after recording her first hit. Chicago soul diva Jackie Ross was born in St. Louis on January 30, 1946; the daughter of husband-and-wife preachers, she made her performing debut on her parents' radio gospel show at the age of three. Following her father's 1954 death, the family relocated to the Windy City; there the legendary Sam Cooke, a friend of her mother, recruited Ross for his SAR label, where she issued her debut single, "Hard Times," in 1962. Following a stint singing with Syl Johnson's band, she signed to Chess Records, making her label bow with 1964's "Selfish One"; the single hit number eleven in the Billboard pop Top Twenty, and Ross soon issued a follow-up, "I've Got the Skill," as well as an album, Full Bloom. The superb "Take Me for a Little While" followed in 1965; unbeknownst to Ross, however, the same song had been recently recorded by New York singer Evie Sands as well, and although Sands' version for Blue Cat actually came first, Chess' marketing muscle nevertheless ensured that their label's rendition proved more successful. Ross' disgust with the situation, combined with the negligible royalties she received from "Selfish One," soon prompted her to exit Chess, and in 1967 she landed at Brunswick, where she recorded that classic song, "Keep Your Chin Up", with a string arrangement by Sonny Sanders that left soul fans simply mesmerised; two years later, she moved to Jerry Butler's Fountain Productions, but failed to recapture her earlier commercial success. She is a sweet and very beautiful lady, and I long to work with her again.

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