Born George Rodrick Jackson, 9 April 1942, Fresno, California
Not much is known about gravel-voiced Roddy Jackson. Like Jerry Byrne, he was a white teenager who recorded three singles in the late fifties for Art Rupe's Specialty label, a company that had only a handful of white artists under contract. The first of these singles, "I've Got My Sights On Someone New"/"Love At First Sight" (Specialty 623) was released in January 1958. The A-side rocks OK, but it is especially his second 45, "Hiccups"/ "Moose On the Loose" (Specialty 649), for which Jackson is remembered. Both sides are exuberant rockers with a top-notch backing from L.A.'s finest session men. The intro to "Moose On the Loose" is in my Top 5 of favourite R&R intro's. I have not heard his third single, "Any Old Town"/ "Gloria" (Specialty 666), but I suppose that if it was any good, it would have been reissued by now. "Hiccups" and "Moose On the Loose" have both been included on two different Ace CD's: "Specialty Rock 'n' Roll" (Ace 291) and "Rock 'n' Roll Fever! : The Wildest From Specialty" (Ace 574) ; the latter compilation also includes "I've Got My Sights On Someone New".
All three Specialty singles were produced by Sonny Bono, with whom Roddy wrote "She Said Yeah" for Larry Williams (Bono using his alias Don Christy). Jackson was not a prolific songwriter, if the BMI files are anything to go by. Apart from "She Said Yeah", his only other compositions are "Love At First Sight", "Any Old Town" and "Gloria", exactly the three songs that have not been reissued. "Hiccups" was written by Al Hazan, the keyboard player who hit the piano keys so hard on his first (and only) take of "Nut Rocker" by B. Bumble and the Stingers that his middle finger was bleeding afterwards. Hazan has his own website (http://www.alhazan.com/, well worth checking out) and it is there (under "Latest buzz at the Hazan hive") that I found the following announcement from December 2003:
"New Al-Related Releases - Alec Palao, independent producer, is working on a Beau Brummels box set for Rhino Handmade Records, which includes 3 previously unreleased tracks produced by Al at Gold Star Studio. Alec is also producing a Roddy Jackson compilation for Ace Records which includes "Hiccups." Alec interviewed Al for possible use in the liner notes of both releases."
So Ace is preparing a Roddy Jackson CD! This seems a bit unlikely to me, as there does not seem to be enough material for a whole CD. The MegaGuide CD-ROM lists only the three Specialty singles and nothing else. But perhaps there are several unreleased recordings (for Specialty and/or other labels) or maybe he recorded under another name after leaving Specialty. Or perhaps the CD will also include other Sonny Bono-related material from Specialty. If this news is true, the CD is probably intended to coincide with Roddy's first-ever gig in Europe. He will be performing at the next Rhythm Riot this coming November :
(With thanks to Tapio.)
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