LISTEN: Rare Jackson 5 recording from 1967 surfaces

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For those of you who missed it, a few days ago a previously-unreleased Jackson 5 recording from 1967 surfaced online. The song – “Big Boy” – is not new to Jackson fans, but the version that has appeared online is.

Fans have long been familiar with the Gordon Keith-produced version of “Big Boy” released by the Jackson 5 and Steeltown Records back in early 1968. However, what many weren’t aware of is that the group had previously recorded the same song – written by Ed Silver – for One-derful! Records in mid-1967.

Michael Jackson, just eight years old at the time, sings all lead vocals, while his brothers – Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon – perform background vocal harmonies and play their respective instruments on the track.

The recording highlights Jackson’s natural-born ability to emote in a way that few others in his field could. At the tender age of 8, Jackson delivers a powerful and soulful vocal performance that puts most of today’s adult artists to shame.

“This session had been all but forgotten until 2009, when guitarist Larry Blasingaine brought it to the attention of Jake Austen, a Chicago Reader writer who was researching a story about the Steeltown release,” writes Rolling Stone magazine’s Nick Murray. “Austen then contacted Eric D. Leaner, one of the four siblings who inherited the One-derful! masters from their dad Ernie, and Leaner began to search for the lost tape.”

“Until Jake Austen called me to explain that there was potentially a missing Jackson 5 demo tape, and if we had it it would be the holy grail of Jackson recordings, we had no idea we had it in our possession,” says Leaner, reports Murray. “I asked my brother-in-law Herb Newkirk to see if he could find it with little hope since we had already been through the tapes. A couple of days later, he called me and said, ‘Brother-in-law, I found it!'”

Now, a 45 of the original “Big Boy” recording is available for the first 500 people who order the One-derful! Collection subscription – a collection of soul, funk and gospel songs released by One-derful! Records in the decade following the label’s 1962 founding. The collection contains 147 tracks – 57 of which have never been issued – across seven CDs or 12 discs of vinyl . It will be released via Secret Stash Recordings on October 28th and can be pre-ordered here.

Listen to the 1967 recording of the Jackson 5’s “Big Boy” below:

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