Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology, Part 2


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.

Razzle dazzle

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 Jackie Trent 2harder 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.

Final score

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

Disc 1

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)

Disc 2

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)


Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology Part 1
Tony Hatch: a life in song

Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology, Part 1

A neat reversal of her cover shot for first album ‘The Magic of Jackie Trent’, 1965

So often, recently, my posts are prompted by the death of another 60s figure.  So it is with Jackie Trent who died last Saturday 21st March at the age of 74.

I’ve long admired Jackie’s wonderful Where Are You Now (My Love), so 1965 in its Bacharach inflected cool.  This was just one of many songs Jackie co-wrote with Tony Hatch – the couple were married 1967-2002. Indeed ‘Hatch-Trent’ became a formidable songwriting partnership from 1964, most famously creating a string of stellar international hits for Petula Clark.

Jackie Trent2 CD set Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology [Sequel, 2000, NEECD 396] reviews Jackie’s 1963-75 career on Pye across fifty tracks including many of her solo UK hits and adding some album cuts along the way.  The running order is broadly chronological.  Paul Howes provides workmanlike notes in the usual glossy fold-out format and the sound quality sounds fine to me (in fact superior to Sequel’s 1999 Petula Clark Pye Anthology which suffers from background hiss on some tracks).

The singles not included are How Soon (from the Richard Boone Show) and Somewhere In the World (both 1964), That’s You and Bye, Bye My Love (both 1967) and I’ll Be Near You (1970) in addition to Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch co-releases of which there were eight on Pye spanning 1967-75, one on Astor and a further three on Columbia.  The rousing 7.10 to Suburbia was B-side to Jackie’s Hollywood in 1968 and a Warner Bros A-side in that year. The song had appeared on her first album, The Magic of Jackie Trent some three years earlier but is not included here.

Jackie and Petula

It’s interesting to speculate whether Jackie’s flop singles (of which there were unfortunately many) could have been hits in the hands of Petula Clark – or conversely, if Jackie had kept the likes of Don’t Sleep in the Subway and The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener for herself, might they have given her hits?

For a direct comparison of a song covered by both singers, I listened to Petula’s and Jackie’s versions of There Goes My Love, There Goes My Life (included here) and, to my ears, both are equally fine.  Jackie’s arrangement perhaps has the edge as it aims at atmosphere rather than sheer impact with responsive passages between brass and strings and unusual pattering rhythms.  For what it’s worth, Petula’s comes in at some thirteen seconds less.  Jackie’s lyrics (entirely re-written from the original French lyric) could hardly be more fulsome if they tried – ‘Guilty of complete devotion, Sentenced to a life of longing, Prisoner of my own emotion, Wanting you but not Jackie Trent 1belonging…’

Jackie on Pye

So onto this release… I’m going to comment on the most noteworthy tracks, starting with CD1 this week and continuing with CD 2 next.

We kick off in 1963 with Melancholy Me which is anything but – a jittery, skittery piece of pure pop quite unlike anything else here and not a little unlike Helen Shapiro.

If You Love Me (Really Love Me) has an arresting Spectoresque arrangement – huge drums, horns, guitars and clackety castanets doing overtime – which suits Jackie’s big, big, voice down to the ground.  If you love this style, you’ll really, really love this song.  What a fantastic echo on that final piano chord.

Signature style

Don’t Stand in My Way introduces the signature Hatch style though, as this is still 1964, it comes with plucked strings and a crisp pick guitar instrumental along with Jackie’s imploring ‘love me, love me.’

The standout track remains Where Are You Now (My Love), a deserved Number One, albeit for one week only.  It’s just so beautifully put together and there’s a restraint underpinning the emotion which serves the song perfectly.

It’s All in the Way You Look at Life is one of the strongest tracks here and could almost be a Hatch-Trent composition though it was penned by Aaron Schroeder (who wrote Elvis’s ‘It’s Now or Never’ amongst many others).  Surprising indeed that this wasn’t a hit.  Everything here just works.

Faces

The duo penned Faces, one of the most interesting tracks and one which has grown on me.  With a theatrical quality and sometimes tentative melody, Trent’s exploratory lyrics take the song into new territory.  ‘Faces’ was aptly dubbed ‘abstract’ in the sleeve notes to The Magic of Jackie Trent and it is certainly very 60s in its impressionistic, window-on-a-rainy-day reflectiveness.

Coming up roses…Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch, 1965

The A-side Love Is Me, Love Is You razzle-dazzles with its bold brassiness and comes with a swinging singalong chorus.  This sounds like a sure fire hit but its impact was diluted because of competition from rival versions on singles by Connie Francis and Truly Smith.

This Time represents Hatch-Trent at their most melodic whilst If You Ever Leave Me is the kind of epic ballad which Scott Walker could have made his own before probably disowning it forever a few months later- ‘ if you ever leave me, I’ll die’.

Either Way I Lose, a 1967 single, is an early Van McCoy song but just don’t go listening to Nina Simone’s peerless version after you’ve heard Jackie’s.  Gladys Knight’s comes in second whilst Robie Porter’s might have been a movie theme.

1967 single, Humming Bird, was an unusual choice as it was penned by young up-and-coming Cat Stevens.  Jackie’s version is augmented with an unusual xylophone-prominent arrangement.  The melodic B-side, I’ll Be With You has an appealing, reassuring uplift at the chorus.

Half time

So by the end of CD1, Where Are You Now (My Love) still reigns supreme but the tightly written and performed It’s All in the Way You Look at Life impressed me.  In fact, I find I enjoy Jackie Trent when that powerful voice is reined in by a song which doesn’t try too hard to hit stratospheric emotional highs.  Or perhaps the likes of If You Love Me (Really Love Me) and There Goes My Love (There Goes My Life) are just a little too overblown for my tastes.  Her lyrics never let the side down but I’d like to hear Jackie push the ‘romantic love’ envelope a little more, as on Faces.

I hope you’ll join me next week for Disc 2 and a full track listing.
 


Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now – The Pye Anthology Part 2
Tony Hatch: a life in song

 

Tony Hatch: a life in song

Royal Festival Hall, London, Saturday 5th July 2014

Tony Hatch in conversation with Michael Grade and special guests: Petula Clark, Rumer, Marti Webb, Joe McElderry, Rhydian, Sophie Evans and John Owen-Jones

 

A few weeks ago, I heard Tony Hatch interviewed on Radio 4’s Midweek.   This sent me scurrying off to book a ticket for this one-off event.  I didn’t regret doing so.

The evening opened to an orchestral medley of some of Tony’s best loved songs.  Even the joker in the pack, ‘Neighbours’, came out well given the same slightly swinging treatment as the ‘60s songs surrounding it.  The selection was topped and tailed by the song which defines Tony Hatch more than any other, Downtown.  Then a red-socked Michael Grade, our genial host, introduced the man himself.

Tony chatted with Grade about his early aptitude for music, honing his skills as head chorister at London’s All Soul’s Langham Place.  He saw his future within classical or choral music but London’s Tin Pan Alley beckoned and Tony followed the almost mythical route from Denmark Street tea-boy to staff producer and then songwriter at Pye, pitching his first song with a young Gerry Dorsey.  Then followed the golden years which produced a wealth of hits for Petula Clark, not forgetting a whole smorgasbord of television themes and those now largely forgotten albums of orchestral pop.  He revealed that all his songs were commissions – he almost never writes according to whim, preferring the pressure of the ‘Tony, could you give us a song for…?’ phone call.

We were treated to a generous smattering of the Hatch back catalogue, almost all of it from the ‘60s, courtesy of an array of guests.   I particularly enjoyed Rumer’s  contributions, her Call Me highlighting the inherent jazz-cool of a song covered by luminaries like Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.  She also offered Where Are You Now?, a memorable early Hatch-Trent co-composition originally sung by Jackie Trent.  John Owen Jones tackled Tony’s first song success, Look For a Star (from Circus of Horrors –original vocal, Gary Mills) whilst Sophie Evans positively sparkled through I Know A Place (which Tony revealed was about The Cavern – of course the ‘cellarful of noise‘ being the giveaway).  Jo McElderry gave us Tony’s own favourite Joanna which pleased Jo’s fans in the audience no end.  I Love the Little Things, a Eurovision entry for Matt Monro, had a rare outing.  Tony speculated rhetorically about how the song might perform in the Eurofest today.  The big surprise for me was Messing About on the River which I never knew was a Tony Hatch song, sounding so little like one with its repetitive, low-key, folkie melody.  It just goes to show his versatility.  Tony accompanied himself at the piano, remembering every word of this ‘catalogue song’ inspired by Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows.

After the interval (a drink for Tony and Michael and a ginger and honey ice-cream for me) we were greeted with another medley, this time of television themes  – Emmerdale drew two bursts of applause to ‘Neighbours’’ one though I wish it had been the original ‘lonely’ Emmerdale Farm with its plaintive oboe, not the lush 21st century version.

Marti Webb showcased a perhaps lesser side of Tony, his forays into musical theatre in the ‘70s via The Card and Rock Nativity.

Sophie was back for one of my favourites, the exuberant Colour My World.  Tony recalled that Petula Clark, always on the lookout for something different, wanted a sitar introduction but the player needed to meditate first so his part had to be added to the recording later.  After Jo McElderry’s rousing I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love (‘my favourite dog food commercial’ quipped Tony) and Rumer lending warmth to Cranes Flying South (pleased to see this lesser known song represented) – came the moment, I suppose we had all been waiting for.

All evening ‘Downtown’ was the big unmentionable because everyone knew its performance by Petula Clark – in person – would form the highlight of the evening.  Petula had not been billed in early publicity for the event though I hoped ‘… and special guests to be confirmed’ reserved the right for her to appear.  No true appreciation of Tony Hatch could have been complete without her.  And appear she did, to a rapturous reception.  Petula performed The Rainbow, a new Hatch-Clark composition, and after the wondrous Don’t Sleep in the Subway it was  – ‘let’s get it over!’ – Downtown.

Tony wrote ‘Downtown’ when inspired by a visit to New York’s Time Square which, he explained, is technically uptown.  Nobody let this worry them too much and I doubt Tony has either over the fifty years since Downtown became a huge international hit.

We all revelled in the moment – a superb signature song by the original artist, a half century on and still sounding as freshly minted as the day Tony first played Petula the melody in her Paris apartment.   The slightly under capacity audience rose to their mainly 60-something feet and sang along.

IMG_1311

Running Order

Orchestral Medley: Downtown, I Know a Place, Don’t Sleep in the Subway, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, The Other Man’s Grass is Always Greener, Call Me, Joanna, Neighbours, Sugar and Spice, Downtown.

Look for a Star, Forget Him, I Love the Little Things, Where Are You Now? Messing About on the River, If You Ever Leave Me, Joanna, I Know a Place, Call Me.

Interval

Orchestral Medley: Man Alive, Sportsnight, Crossroads, Emmerdale, Hadleigh, Mr & Mrs, Neighbours.

Moving On (The Card), Opposite Your Smile (The Card), Make a New Tomorrow (Rock Nativity), Conversation in the Wind, Colour My World, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, Don’t Give Up, Cranes Flying South, The Rainbow, Don’t Sleep in the Subway, Downtown.

Jackie Trent: Where Are You Now? – the Pye Anthology