Millie Jackson – 1974 – Caught Up
A loose concept album about the consequences of a love affair with a married man, viewed from various sides. The opening suite “If Lovin’ You Is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right/The Rap”, a raid on Isaac Hayes‘s string-heavy slow funk stew, is one of the greatest recordings I’ve ever heard.
A2 The Rap5:53
A3 If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right (Reprise) 1:14
A4 All I Want Is A Fighting Chance 2:37
A5 I’m Tired of Hiding3:45
B1 It’s All Over But The Shouting 2:53
B2 It’s Easy Going 4:08
B3 I’m Through Trying To Prove My Love To You 5:53
B4 Summer (The First Time) 5:58
Taking the drama of a love triangle to logical extremes, Millie Jackson’s Caught Up turns the pitfalls of tainted love into the basis for a concept album (the seeds for soul music’s explicit treatment of the topic having been planted by James Carr’s “Dark End of the Street”). While the “other woman’s” view is taken up initially on cuts like the R&B hit “If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right” the wife’s plight is covered on the second half of the disc with revealing titles like “It’s All Over But the Shouting“. Jackson also delivers some of her patented racy commentary on the appropriately named “The Rap“, while showing equal vigor in the album’s wealth of fine vocal performances, including an impressive cover of Bobby Womack’s “I’m Through Trying to Prove My Love to You“. Caught Up’s standout track, though, is the version of Bobby Goldsboro’s “Summer” that closes the record. Seemingly out of sync with the overriding concept, the song touches upon a girl’s loss of innocence to an older man. One soon realizes, though, that beyond sexual awakening, Jackson is really emphasizing the point of no return: after the epiphany, one is sent hurdling toward the power struggles and politics of adult relations, including, potentially, the moral crossroads of infidelity. Luckily, as soon as your mind overloads from pop semiotics, the in-the-pocket grooves supplied by the Muscle Shoals Swampers provides the needed salve. Jackson shows both brains and soul on this fine release, creating what might be the only concept album one can dance and drink to.
As a certain english bard noticed centuries ago, fashion may change, politics are changing,religions too,but basic human emotions stays the same.”Caught up” recorded in 1974 still have the power to move the listener, 27 years after its release, simply because subject of love triangle would always be the part of our relationships and on this album explores this story with unsurpassed passion and honesty. Yes, true, music with its early, pre-disco funk could be recognized as result of early 1970’s but its the first class production and interpretation,nevertheless sounds great simply because its original and today funk stars are trying to achieve same effects. I found strange that at the time of release, Millie Jackson was considered to be singer who is hiding her vocal limitations with “rap”, when to my ears her robust, gritty, passionate voice sounds like one of the best voices I ever heard (combination of Gladys Knight and Tina Turner). I guess that her underrated status comes from the fact that every black female singer at the time was compared to Aretha Franklin, and Jackson openly admitted that she never had any singing lessons in her life – which make her one of the great natural talents and for me, she is singer nr.1 – I heard “Caught Up” just a few days ago and although I discovered it late (27 years after recording) I am fan for life.