Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Queen B

It was time for another tidy up of my vinyl collection at the weekend. The haphazard piles of newly acquired records and old ones pulled out of the collection for playing (or even just looking at) had grown to the point of triggering an OCD style tidying instinct. It’s also a good way of finding out exactly what I have got (oh, I had forgotten about that one; ah, so I’ve got two of those now!). In the end the singles were only partly done and the albums were untouched. More happy filing weekends to come J

This sort of exercise always seems to take longer than you think. The first thing to consider is whether a new filing structure should be pursued. To an extent that is what I decided to do this time which meant the random piles of records temporarily grew as they were pulled out of one box to be subsequently put in another. Then, of course, you come across some records that just have to be played, and a few that get looked up on the internet, and… well you know how it goes.

As part of this filing frenzy the soul and funk (sub division: original collection, bought in the 70s) M to Ps (hardly any Ns strangely enough) were shifting from the back of one box to the front of another as I attempted to reduce their packing density so I could actually flick through them more easily. In the end the Ms didn’t move box. (Exciting this isn’t it? J)

In the Ms were, reasonably enough, as one lasting regime to my filing is alphabetic by surname for individual artists, some Jackie Moore singles. I’ve always been somewhat ambivalent towards Jackie Moore, I like her well enough to have collected a few of her singles, but her voice and her records, for me, seem to have retained a sort of permanently elusive quality to them. Sometimes when I think of, or hear, one of her records I can be quite dismissive, but then I find I keep coming back to her and giving her another listen. Her voice can seem somewhat nondescript, and yet at the same time totally distinctive (at times I can detect similarities with the quieter, hurt side of Candi Staton; and Gloria Gaynor; and how about this for a curve balI – I read a comment on another blog that likened her to Carly Simon,the blogger didn’t get that, but I think I can see it). Her delivery can sound uninvolved but at the same time achingly soulful. The arrangements are never less than competent but are they any more than that?  

Digging out the records I have of hers the over the weekend prompted me to look at her career in some more detail. (Considering her solid recording career, information seems somewhat thin on the ground. - there you are: elusive again). Having done so it has made me appreciate her a good deal more and, even with so little information on Jackie the person, her career  demonstrates a degree of consistency and “stickability” that leaves me with the feeling that those traits would be mirrored in her life and that those who know her will see her as a rock and a great friend.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1946 Jackie Moore has spent most of her life in that State. She moved briefly to Philly in the late 60s where she started her recording career on the Shout label. From then until the early Eighties Jackie was a regular visitor to the studios, and she continued to record sporadically into the Nineties.

Jackie was very much an artist of the Seventies though. She seemed to steer a steady, if not dramatically successful, course throughout that decade, releasing (by my count) 17 singles and 3 albums (plus another one that sneaks into 1980) neatly bookended by probably her two most well known songs and biggest hits: “Precious, Precious” (1970), and “This Time Baby” (1979). After moving from Shout to Atlantic she would then move labels only twice more in the Seventies (Kayvette, and then Columbia). Working with relatively big name producers and arrangers – Dave Crawford (her cousin), Clarence Reid, Brad Shapiro, and Bobby Eli – her output was generally consistent both in quality and style and was not greatly affected by the changing fads in black music. Her sound, although rooted in southern soul, often had a lighter (radio-friendly?) feel to it. Output in the latter half of the decade did inevitably, on occasion, tip its hat to the disco floor - witness “This Time Baby”, for my money one of the great disco records, except that it is so much more than just a disco record. But it would appear there were always good song choices made and a sufficient variety of tempo and tone on her albums. This is well demonstrated by the two songs featured here I think which are both album tracks that each found their way onto B sides of, to my mind, more commercial, but weaker songs.

First up is the flip side of “How’s Your Love Life Baby”. I did not remember having this single, and I’m wondering whether the weekend was the first time I had ever turned it over and played the B side. It immediately struck me that this could “go massive” if it got some exposure on today’s modern soul scene. A feel good song. From the album “I’m On My Way”.

“Tired Of Hiding” is the B side of “Disco Body”. It was written by Phillip Mitchell. Just look at some of the songs Phillip has written and who has performed them, that’s some list! For a long time I have known and loved Millie Jackson’s rendition of this song, which appeared on her classic “Caught Up” album. In the past I was not a great fan of covers which I think made me reluctant to listen to Jackie Moore’s version. Now, after a few listens I am feeling Jackie’s version too.

After playing my Jackie Moore singles I went onto YouTube where, of course, I found more Moore - I’m particularly taken with “With Your Love”. This weekend just gone I finally found that elusive quality of Jackie Moore and I love her a whole lot more now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the neverending and oft-delayed vinyl reorganisation. I know it well ;o) Digging the jackie moore...