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Mr & Mrs Music, 1967
In Part 1 last week, I reviewed Disc 1 of Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology [Sequel, 2000, NEECD 396] covering 1963-67.
Disc 2 launches us into 1968 and a slightly different style of arrangement on With Every Little Tear – percussion is more prevalent, orchestration pared back and vocal somewhat gentler. Jackie has acknowledged the similarity between this song and Vikki Carr’s It Must Be Him, released around the same time. It was Vikki’s release which charted.
1968’s Hollywood was written after Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch visited Los Angeles and strongly shows the influence of Do You Know the Way to San Jose both thematically and rhythmically but its chorus –‘ Hollywood! You’re a millionaire, Hollywood, You’re just Fred Astaire’ opts for show time rather than insight.
I’ll Be There, from 1969, was Jackie’s third Top 40 entry in a full orchestral style while B-side, Close To You, is a vaguely Humperdinck-like ballad, interesting for verse one’s string patterns which prefigure those of Tony’s Hadleigh TV theme some three years later. Both are workable and enjoyable enough while they last but fail to lodge in the memory. In terms of quality and impact either song could have been A or B side. The flamboyant harp glissandi at the chorus endings tell us we are firmly in cabaret territory.
Similar problems blight Jackie’s cover of Jacques Brel’s If You Go Away as Bob Leaper’s orchestrations, at first stylish, turn to razzle dazzle on the chorus. Still, Jackie turns in an expert vocal.
I find it hard to listen to Such a Small Love because the arrangement is far less subtle, far less innovative than Scott Walker’s where every sound and tone is made to count. But it’s good to hear Jackie tackle more daring lyrics outside of romantic love and its complications. She sounds completely involved in this enigmatic song.
1970 single Look at the Rain is in a by now dated Italian style but things look up with the melodic and catchy I’ll Be Near You from musical ‘Nell’ (in which Jackie played the part of Nell Gwynne) although Johnny Worth’s appealing song appears here as a slow number with trumpet breaks underscored by oboe. This is one of the most attractive and enjoyable tracks on CD2.
After two Hatch-Trent joint albums on Columbia (not covered by this set) we jump to 1974. We Need You with its electric piano, signals a welcome break into a livelier more contemporary style with hints of Motown (it was recorded by Diana Ross) and a harder edge to Jackie’s voice in places.
Then a full blooded new sound – gospel, soul – emerges on 1975 album Can’t Give It Up No More. On the title track, Jackie’s voice even rocks (briefly) at times, sounding like Dionne Warwick at others. The orchestra is firmly in the background now.
Everybody Rejoice, an early Luther Vandross song, is refreshing for its good-time liveliness with an almost snappy vocal style we haven’t heard from Jackie before.
My Love is given a radically different treatment from the famous Petula Clark hit. The sleeve notes give away that this was a Hatch-Trent composition credited to Tony only as he didn’t want Petula Clark to know that Jackie wrote the lyrics. Jackie’s version aims at a kind of late evening sultriness and all credit to her for delivering a radically different take but I prefer Petula’s sunshine-brimming optimism.
Jackie Trent leaves us a plethora of material – she recorded 28 singles and six albums in the 60s alone. There’s an overall classiness to much on this 2CD set and there’s no faulting Jackie’s professionalism but she veers towards safe choices which means much of her output has been left behind with the demise of cabaret.
I’m sometimes too well aware that what I am hearing is little more than a polished performance and I’m not sure why that should be as it’s not as if Jackie sings without feeling. But her songs and their stylings cannot transport me to another place as can, say, the grandeur of Scott Walker’s Such a Small Love.
It’s a shame Jackie didn’t try an album which showcased a more daring selection of material, moving into new territories, creating a unified sound and vision of an artist through a set of carefully curated songs, much as Dusty Springfield achieved in Dusty in Memphis. But I don’t think this was ever what Jackie Trent was about.
That said, several songs on this set do reach out. It’s All in the Way You Look at Life deserves greater recognition, This Time has a memorably fine melody and I’ll Be With You charms with its simplicity. Some of the 1974/5 material succeeds in breaking the conservative mould whilst 1965’s Faces sees Jackie’s lyrics at their most impressionistic.
But Jackie Trent’s lasting legacy from the 60s/70s is, and will continue to be, Where Are You Now (My Love).
Jackie Trent – 6th September 1940- 21st March 2015.
Full track listing
1. Melancholy Me – (Hayken, Hawker, 1963)
2. If You Love Me – (Really Love Me) (Monnot, Parsons, Piaf, 1964)
3. Autumn Leaves – (Mercer, Prevert, Kosna, 1964)
4. I Heard Somebody Say – (Monnot, Parsons, 1964)
5. Don’t Stand in My Way – (Hatch, Trent, 1964)
6. Where Are You Now – (My Love) (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
7. When Summertime Is Over – (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
8. It’s All in the Way You Look at Life – (Schroeder, Brooks, 1965)
9. Time after Time – (Cahn, Styne, 1965)
10. Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) – (Howard, Bart, 1965)
11. I’m a Fool to Want You – (Wolf, Herron, Sinatra, 1965)
12. Faces – (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
13. You Baby – (Mann, Weil, Spector, 1965)
14. Send Her Away – (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
15. Love Is Me, Love Is You – (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
16. This Time – (Hatch, Trent, 1965)
17. If You Ever Leave Me – (Hatch, Trent, 1966)
18. There Goes My Love, There Goes My Life – (Clark, Hatch, Ballay, Trent, 1966)
19. Open Your Heart – (Hatch, Trent, 1967)
20. Either Way I Lose – (McCoy, 1967)
21. Take Me Away – (Hatch, Trent, 1967)
22. Baby Are You Puttin’ Me On – (Randazzo, Harp, Gentry, 1967)
23. Make It Easy on Yourself – (Bacharach, David, 1967)
24. Humming Bird – (Stevens, 1967)
25. I’ll Be With You – (Hatch, Trent, 1967)
26. Your Love Is Everywhere – (Hatch, Trent, 1967)
27. It’s Not Easy Loving You – (Trent, 1967)
28. That’s You – (Andrews, 1967)
1. With Every Little Tear – (Hatch, Trent, 1968)
2. Don’t Send Me Away – (Hatch, Trent, 1967)
3. You’re Gonna Hear from Me- (Previn, Previn, 1967)
4. Here’s that Rainy Day – (Van Heusen, Burke, 1967)
5. Hollywood – (Hatch, Trent, 1968)
6. I’ll Be There – (Hatch, Trent,1969)
7. Close to You – (Hatch, Trent, 1969)
8. Goin’ Back – (Goffin King, 1969)
9. Remember Me – (Trent, Holding, 1969)
10. If You Go Away – (McKuen, Brel, 1969)
11. Such a Small Love – (Engel, 1969)
12. Look at the Rain – (Hatch, Trent, 1970)
13. I’ll Be Near You – (Worth, 1970)
14. We Need You – (Richards, 1974)
15. Corner of the Sky – (Schwartz, 1974)
16. Come Home My Love – (Hatch, Trent, 1974)
17. Send in the Clowns – (Sondheim, 1975)
18. Can’t Give It Up No More – (Bristol, Jones Jnr., Brown Jnr., 1975)
19. Everybody Rejoice – (Vandross, 1975)
20. Didn’t I Say I Love You – (Hatch, Trent, 1975)
21. My Love – (Hatch, Trent, 1975)
22. Just a Little Piece of You (Wonder, Wright, 1975)