Monday, March 7, 2016

Album Reviews # 58 Jackie DeShannon - Jackie

For those interested in such things it's worth having a look at Best Albums Ever website. It charts precisely that, year by year throughout the course of Rock History according to the votes of its readers. This record ,Jackie, by American singer songwriter Jackie DeShannon, ranks at Number 670 for 1972 and altogether at position 54,544 in the all time list. It's an album that has essentially has slipped through the cracks with time and barely registers as a footnote of any kind.

This review will not be an attempt to recast the album as an all time classic, up there with Dusty in Memphis, Lady Soul or New York Tendaberry. It doesn't compare with any of these. But it is a highly enjoyable listen, skilled and assured from start to finish. Released on the Atlantic label, it has all the hallmarks of their classic, assured feel. Strings and woodwinds arranged by Arif Mardin. produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Down and Mardin again and with a large team of experienced and able session musicians, it looks like a definite attempt to push DeShannon into the stratosphere, or at the very least ride the wave generated by Carole King's Tapestry to middle of the road early seventies nirvana

It didn't really get there either, underachieving somewhat commercially and DeShannon never got her second shot at real stardom having first impacted as both a hit single maker and a respected songwriter throughout the sixties. It's a shame really, because it's a fine album, gentle, vaguely lovelorn but consistently smooth. A great thing to listen to on a Sunday morning which is what I'm doing now as I stretch and unwind and hope the clock will never tick on beyond midday.

Surprisingly, given DeShannon's songwriting pedigree, it's mostly a set of covers, takes on John Prine, Neil Young and Van Morrison songs with the singer only contributing four songs herself, although perhaps the best of the whole set with Vanilla 'Olay, the single taken from the record which failed to become the hit it should have been.

But I'd direct you to the album as a whole. It's testament to DeShannon's talents. She has a fine voice, made all the finer by the setting it finds itself in here, there are twelve tracks here, always a nice even number for a long player and not one of them lets the side down. All in all I think it deserves a greater legacy than to be considered the 54,544th best record of all time. 

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