Carl Jackson portrait Carl Jackson

Discography - Best-Ofs

Carl Jackson "Songs Of The South" (Sugar Hill, 1995)
This is about as good as it gets -- banjoist/multi-instrumentalist Carl Jackson was a teen prodigy in the 1960s, touring with Jim & Jesse's bluegrass band, and later with Glen Campbell; in the '70s he fell in with the new country elite, folks like Emmylou Harris and her crew. And man, does he have the right feel for this music! This disc collects material from two albums he did under his own name in the 1980s -- Song Of The South and Banjo Man -- and is a glorious mix of straight-ahead melodic bluegrass and sweet, sweet old-fashioned heartsongs. Tunes like "You Are My Flower" and "Keep On The Sunny Side" hearken back to the Carter Family tradition, while instrumental numbers like "Earl's Breakdown" and "Grey Eagle" show why Jackson has been in such high demand as a sideman over so many years. This is really nice stuff; it's a shame they cut out some of the songs from the original albums... it would've all easily fit on one disc... but the music that is on here is all first class all the way. Recommended!

Discography - Albums

Carl Jackson "Bluegrass Festival" (Prize Records, 1971) (LP)
His first solo album, packed with bluegrass standards suchas "Bill Cheatham," "Flop Eared Mule," etc. Reissued by Sugar Hill in 1983 as Banjo Hits... (See below.)

Carl Jackson "Banjo Player" (Capitol, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Glen Campbell)

Years before he started palling around with Emmylou Harris, banjo plunker Carl Jackson was, apparently, a protege of countrypolitan star Glen Campbell, who lauds him in the liner notes, plays guitar and produced this sleek, no-nonsense bluegrass set for his very, very talented 19-year-old sideman. Lots of standards -- "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Duelin' Banjos," etc. -- but also some nice originals from Jackson himself... and the picking is really spectacular, even if the overall vibe of the album is a little too safe and controlled. Campbell gets in a few nice licks himself; if you like all-instrumental albums such as Jerry Douglas's Fluxology, this disc might be worth tracking down as well.

Carl Jackson "Old Friends" (Capitol, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Tom Thacker)

I cut Carl Jackson a lot of slack because of his association with Emmylou Harris and all, but man, this is one stinky record. You can smell it from here, through the Internet, without even listening to it yourself. There are just so many things wrong with it, on so many levels... it's hard to know where to begin. The ever-present lightly orchestrated strings, Jackson's paper-thin, overly-emotive crooning... the truly, heinously bad, AOR-oriented countrypolitan song selection... the sheer weight of overweening pretentiousness... In short: yeesh. Jackson multitracked his guitar, banjo and fiddles, but it doesn't help -- this is a lumbering effort, overdone and overwrought, and downright painful to listen to. Trust me, you can skip it.

Carl Jackson "Banjo Man -- A Tribute To Earl Scruggs" (Sugar Hill, 1981 (LP)

Carl Jackson "Song Of The South" (Sugar Hill, 1982) (LP)

Carl Jackson "Banjo Hits" (Sugar Hill, 1983) (LP)

Carl Jackson & John Starling "Spring Training" (Sugar Hill, 1991)

Carl Jackson " 'Neath The Oaks In The Grove" (Ole Miss Loyalty Foundation, 1993)

Carl Jackson/Various Artists "Nashville Country" (Sundown, 1993)
This album includes a bunch of heavyweight duets with folks like Emmylou Harris, Melba Montgomery, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites...

Carl Jackson/Larry Cordle/Jerry Salley "Against The Grain" (LCJS, 1999)


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