Jacks , The "Make 'Em Cry" LP
Upon reading that the backstory of a little-known band from Tulsa, Oklahoma, contains, among its extended cast of characters, Dwight Twilley, Phil Seymour, Arturo Vega, Hilly Krystal, Mike Hudson, Bob Mould and Tommy Stinson, one could be forgiven for expressing incredulity. And if one did, one is (forgiven). Forgiveness is important as toward it lies the path to redemption. Though not in need of personal redemption or the aforementioned backstory for that matter, this collection of songs – some issued, the majority unheard – hopefully redeems the time, care, talent and utter willfulness poured into them by the duo at the heart of our story, Walter Kleinecke and Mitch Griffin and their band The Jacks. A band dealt a bad hand, but whose music ran the table.
That songs this strong and material this historically significant remained unissued and largely unknown for so long is baffling. The Jacks’ punchy, melodic mix of everything from the British Invasion to Dwight Twilley to the Nerves to early 20/20 stands on par with the best of late 70’s power pop: seemingly tailor made for a BOMP! or Trouser Press cover feature. In a better world, they would have been snatched up in the post-‘My Sharona’ wave or, at the very least, have their Drome single command top dollar on the collectors’ market. Despite multiple different incarnations in multiple different zip-codes there is remarkable consistency and quality throughout the band’s entire existence as well as their earliest and latest recordings. Although it may be too late for the Jacks to hit the charts, it’s definitely not too late for them to hit your heart.