Jackie Avery’s songwriting credits are both substantial and musically very impressive. In the 60s he scored with “Aunt Dora’s Love Soul Shack” on Arthur Conley and “Make Sure (You Have Someone Who Loves You) for the Dells, for example, and in the 70s wrote the brilliant “Sweeter As The Days Go By” again for the Dells and the hard hitting “Shackin’ Up” for Barbara Mason. Perhaps his biggest seller though was the Disco 9000 LP for Johnnie Taylor.
While his wife Ella Brown was singing with the rock group Wet Willie who were signed to Capricorn, Jackie worked in Phil Walden’s studio. And it is for his work in Macon in the early 70s that he is best remembered – penning the outstanding “I Wouldn’t Be A Poor Boy” for Oscar Toney and “Blind Bats And Swamp Rats” for Johnnie Jenkins among many others as well as assisting on the production side of things such as his role on Eddie Kirkland's fine "The Devil And Other Blues Demons" LP for Trix, on which he also played piano. His strangest credit of course is for his work on Charlie Whitehead’s “Raw Spitt” LP courtesy of the mercurial and imaginative Swamp Dogg himself of course – “Jackie Avery Tongue And Cheek Choir – Background vocals”.
Before his marriage to Ella Brown and his move to Georgia, however, Avery was in New Orleans from where his first 45 as a singer was issued.Understanding shows what a fine hard hitting singer he could be – full of grit and with some fine gospel flourishes. Love the Joe Tex styled “uh hus” as well. The obscure release deserves a high place in the pantheon of Louisiana deep soul.
His only other 45 came from his Macon days and although the flip is a novelty tinged item, Your Love Has Brought Me A Mighty Long Way is a anthemic gospel workout of great energy and conviction. Check out the slide guitar (Duane Allman? Johnny Sandlin?) and wailing background vocals from Ella. The best known version of this track is by Wilson Pickett of course.
Both Avery and Ella Brown are far from well at the time of writing – let’s hope they are quickly restored to full health.
Thanks to my friend Michel for extra info.