Millie Jackson – 1973 – It Hurts So Good
Before hitting her stride with 1974’s “Caught Up“, Millie Jackson delivered this tasty disc of uptown Southern soul. Both Stax raw and Philly International slick, “It Hurts So Good” percolates with smoky horns, snaking guitar lines, electric piano, strings, and bluesy funk grooves. In addition to her usually provocative take on relationships (both in the home and at the dark end of the street), Jackson – via Curtis Mayfield – delivers the affecting ghetto laments “I Cry“, “Hypocrisy,” and “Two-Faced World“. And while some of the charts are a bit lacking, Jackson is solid throughout, especially on slow-burners like “Good to the Very Last Drop“.
A fine early offering from the diva of salacious sass.
I may be a little late,but since I discovered Millie Jackson through her breath-taking “Caught Up” concept album, I am “caught up” with her and I deeply admire her as a singer and songwriter. While Gladys Knight is passionate but somehow too “clean” and Tina Turner can be one-dimensional, Millie Jackson can be both gritty and sensitive, showing defiance and vulnerability that I found extremely attractive (and honest).”It Hurts So Good” was her second LP, recorded in 1973. With a title song being huge hit, thanks to blaxplotation movie “Cleopatra Jones“. While first few songs sound curiously like something from Marvin’s Gaye “What’s Going On” (social comments),eventualy later Millie Jackson explores love themes and therefore she moves further to a sound she became well known. Perhaps the best thing about this album was the fact that it was the start of her collaboration with talented producer Brad Shapiro who took her to famous Muscle Shoals studios (where Aretha,Etta and Wilson recorded their best work) – the music backing was this time much more suitable to her strong,passionate voice than on a debut album and through real down & dirty, funky pre-disco sound Millie shines like a rough diamond.
I actually think this might be my favorite Millie album, I mean sure I loved “Caught Up”, but I think this is slightly better (it just doesn’t have a gimmick). This is probably one of her more sedate albums (as far as her vulgarities go), it just showcases her amazingly soulful voice. The music is also pretty wicked, definitely comparable to the best of Isaac Hayes’s material. It’s funky, bluesy and yet laid back. It also echoes many trends in Southern soul music which I also really like and more importantly it’s perfectly suited to Millie’s style. The songs are very memorable, she probably reaches her most political material here with songs like “I Cry” (which I could picture Curtis Mayfield performing), “Hypocrisy” and “Two-Faced World“. You may recognize “It Hurts So Good” and “Love Doctor” from the ’70s flick Cleopatra Jones, both of which are pretty darned great. Her ballad “Good To The Very Last Drop” also stands out as one of her finest moments. If you are ready (or willing) to take Millie Jackson seriously then you need to try this album, she deserves respect and this is the proof. I like most everything she does, but this album just really has the groove I’m looking for, just another reason I love Millie!
Two more Millie Jackson’s albums are available in our back pages here, her debut and her masterpiece “Caught Up“.