Even without much of an audience to spur him on, Chuck Jackson is one of those soul singers who like to work up a real sweat onstage. Performing for a few dozen people at Anton's 1201 Club Tuesday night, Jackson shed his tie, jacket and probably a couple of pounds while vigorously reviving some of the recordings he's made popular since the early '60s, and some of the ones he didn't.
The best known among the former were "Any Day Now" and "I Don't Want To Cry," hits that Jackson still sings with stirring power and emotion. With its gospel and operatic inflections, his baritone voice is as moving as ever, but sometimes it was wasted on dated or overwrought arrangements of cover tunes, including a disco-driven version of "My Girl" and a melodramatic reading of "Yesterday."
All in all, though, the pluses far outweighed the minuses. Working with a seven-piece band that featured a vibrant horn section, Jackson delivered "Hold On, I'm Comin'," "Stand By Me" and other hits with commanding authority, and by doubling the tempo on several tunes, he turned them into rousing soul shouts.
The engagement runs through Sunday.