Thursday, 4 November 2010

“Is This What You Want?” by JACKIE LOMAX. A Review Of His 1969 Debut Album For The Beatles Apple Records – Now Reissued Onto A 2010 Extended CD.

Artists like JACKIE LOMAX are part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


 "…Rolls Royce…A Golden Voice…Does It Make You Happy?"

Monday 25 October 2010 has seen 14 of the 'Apple' label albums remastered and reissued alongside "Come And Get It" - a first-time-ever label 'Best Of'. This reissue is one of them.

Apple 5099990825521 breaks down as follows (60:09 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the LP "Is That What You Want?" released 14 March 1969 in the UK on Apple APCOR 6 (Mono)/SAPCOR 6 (Stereo) and on Apple ST-3354 in the USA (Stereo only). There are no extra tracks via download and the STEREO mix is used.

Tracks 13 to 15 were the 3 bonus tracks given with the 1991 reissue, while 16 to 18 are previously unreleased and exclusive to this 2010 issue. Using both album and bonus tracks, this CD will allow to sequence his 3 Apple UK 7” singles as follows:

1. "Sour Milk Sea” b/w "The Eagle Laughs At You" [Tracks 5 and 9]
(Released 31 August 1968 in the UK on Apple APPLE 3)
2. "New Day" b/w "Fall Inside Your Eyes" [Tracks 13 and 6]
(Released 2 May 1969 in the UK on Apple APPLE 11; the A-side is a non-album track and is a MONO mix)
3. "How The Web Was Woven" b/w Thumbin’ A Ride [Tracks 15 and 14]
(Released 6 February 1970 in the UK on Apple APPLE 23. Both sides are cover versions, the A-side by Clive Westlake and David Most while the B is a Coasters song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It is also the only single on the Apple catalogue produced by a Beatle on each side – George Harrison on the A and Paul McCartney on the B. Both songs were non-album at the time of release)

Noted writer and music lover ANDY DAVIS does the new liner notes for the disappointingly weedy booklet (they all appear to be this generic length - 12 pages - EMI pushes the boat out again people). But with what little text he has been afforded, Davis does at least fill it with properly informative details - and it's peppered with some very tasty black and white photos of Lomax in Hyde Park in 1969 (two more adorn the inner gatefold) – and colour portraits of Jackie with George Harrison and Paul McCartney in the studio. It's cute, but you do wish there was more...

Like so many of the sessions of the time, the recordings included three of The Beatles and many famous and talented friends - George played Guitar, Ringo was on Drums, Paul McCartney and Klaus Voormann contributed Bass – others musicians included ERIC CLAPTON on Guitar, NICKY HOPKINS on Keyboards and TONY NEWMAN of Sounds Incorporated on Drums. Although the liner notes don’t state it – the backing vocals are probably DORIS TROY and MADELINE BELL. Excepting “Sour Milk Sea” - written by George Harrison - the other 11 tracks on the album are Jackie Lomax originals.

The same team that handled the much-praised 09/09/09 Beatles remasters have done this - GUY MASSEY, STEVE ROOKES, PHIL HICKS and SIMON GIBSON. The audio quality is BEAUTIFUL - a massive improvement. It also makes you reassess a lot of the songs and especially the musicianship involved.

The album opens strongly with “Speak To Me” – strings, vocals, guitars – all sounding great. It’s followed by the ‘possessions are corrupting’ title song (lyrics above) with a lovely Oboe floating over the loaded lyrics. In fact a lot of the album reflects a thinking-man’s Rock ‘N’ Roller – “Little Yellow Pills” warning against doctor’s helpful prescriptions and the plaintive album finisher “I Just Don’t Know” ruminating about chasing dreams and girls – neither of which appear attainable to the dapper Jackie. Some of the slower songs don’t work for me - a little forced and even twee in places – “Fall Inside Your Eyes” and “Baby You’re A Lover”

But like the other issues in this series, the best is kept until last. What the 3 new bonus tracks lack in recorded finesse are more than made up for with heart and raw talent – “You Got To Be Strong” and “Can You Hear Me” are co-written with fellow label mate DORIS TROY – and they’re excellent. Sort of hybrid Soul-meets-Rock songs, they suit his guttural vocals so well. “Can You Hear Me” is even moving in a slightly Northern Soul way – a truly lovely melody.

Niggles - the gatefold card sleeve is nice to look at for sure, but the booklet and overall packaging feel lightweight (what EMI could get away with). The CD should have one of those gauze inner bags to protect it - a problem that no record company seems to want to acknowledge (scuffing and damage). They're minor points I know, but worth making...

Lomax went on to make “Home Is In My Head” and “Three” for Warner Brothers in 1971 and 1972 (both of which featured ace UK slide-guitarist Bryn Haworth) – but this forgotten and underrated album is where it all started proper.

Recommended - especially given the massive improvement in sound quality and those excellent bonus tracks.

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