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Tuesday 2 August 2011

Jackie's Back

About ten days ago I featured Jackie DeShannon's version of Neil Young's "Only Love Will Break My Heart" in a post featuring seven versions of that song. And a few days after that, in a moment of what Sting would no doubt call synchronicity, her brand new album popped into my in-box, courtesy of our dear friends at ReviewShine. Called "When You Walk In The Room", the album comes out on Rock Beat Records on 27 September.

As you might guess from the title, the album finds Jackie reinterpreting some of her biggest hits and best songs. Sometimes that is a warning sign that you need to brace yourself for disappointment, like with those cheapo albums you used to get in Woolworths which had "re-recorded by the original artist" printed in tiny letters at the bottom of the back cover. But you need have no such fear in this case. Jackie is far too classy for that.

While you wouldn't say these are the definitive versions, they are sufficiently good and different that you can enjoy them in their own right without comparing them unfavourably to the originals. There is a fairly light touch production that really allows the quality of the songs and Jackie's voice to shine through. We all knew about the songs, but the way her voice has held up is a pleasant surprise. She sounds fantastic for a woman who released her first singles over 50 years ago. Actually, that is not correct. She sounds fantastic full stop - there is no need to qualify that comment at all.

"Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" - Jackie DeShannon

"Will You Stay In My Life" - Jackie DeShannon

As a bonus, here are some weird and wonderful cover versions of some of her biggest songs. They include a Swamp Dog soul production from the early 1970s, some Uruguayan 1960s beat music, some contemporary Japanese pop-punk, and an oddly beautiful version of the old Marianne Faithfull hit "Come And Stay With Me". I had never anticipated using the phrase "oddly beautiful" to describe music produced by the former leader of the Sex Gang Children, but there you are.

"Put A Little Love In Your Heart" - Raw Spitt

"Hay Una Extraña Expresión En Tus Ojos (When You Walk In The Room)" - Los Iracundos

"Breakaway" - Psycho Food Eaters

"Come And Stay With Me" - Andi SexGang

While on the subject of vintage Jackies (or Jacquis), I had the great pleasure of seeing the original Pentangle line-up play at the Royal Festival Hall last night. They were utterly wonderful, and Jacqui McShee - like Jackie DeShannon - still sounds great in her mid-60s. If you ask nicely I may post of few of their old tracks up here in the future. But for now you'll have to make do with this 1970 clip of "House Carpenter". With Bert Jansch on banjo and John Renbourn on sitar, this was one of the many highlights last night.

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