Jackie DeShannon: Capitol Album


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Jackie DeShannon
You probably know Jackie DeShannon best for her song, Put a Little Love in Your Heart, a #4 Billboard hit in 1969. Or her hit rendition of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love. What you may not be aware of is that Jackie is one of the first female singer-songwriters in the pop-rock era and among the most prolific composers. She was born and raised in Kentucky, and she left her Illinois high school in her sophomore year to sing and record. Initially considered a country singer, her regional records caught the ear of Eddie Cochran, who brought her out to Los Angeles to meet singer-songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who was his girlfriend at the time and would co-create the jukebox TV show Shindig! The two women formed a writing partnership in 1960 and wrote a bunch of hits.

Jackie was soon signed to Liberty Records and co-wrote and recorded the hit Needles and Pins (1963) and wrote and recorded When You Walk in the Room (1963). In February 1964, Jackie joined the Beatles on their first North American tour and appeared in a few beach movies. She also wrote or co-wrote dozens of hits recorded by other artists, including Marianne Faithful's Come and Stay With Me (1965) and Kim Carnes's Bette Davis Eyes (1981).

Now, Real Gone Music has released a fascinating album: Jackie DeShannon: Stone Cold Soul: The Complete Capitol Recordings. Sixteen of the songs on the album were recorded at producer Chips Moman's American Recording Studios in Memphis. Recorded in December 1970 and January 1971 after Jackie left Liberty, the album was shelved by Capitol after executives became uncertain about its commercial viability. Several months later, Jackie went back into Capitol to record again. The Hollywood sessions produced enough material that, when combined with some of the songs from the Memphis sessions, resulted in Songs, Jackie's sole Capitol release.

Stone Cold Soul unites all of Jackie's Capitol material, and the album is absolutely wonderful. Jackie has a warm twang and a powerful yearning in her voice. Her four originals—West Virginia Mine, Now That the Desert Is Blooming, Salinas and Bad Water—are cozy Americana pieces. Other songs include the title track by Mark James and George Klein, Van Morrison's And It Stoned Me, Bob Dylan's Lay, Lady, Lay (which Jackie sings as Lay, Baby, Lay) and Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn's Sweet Inspiration.

The best way to listen to the album is barefoot. Only then will you fully dig the soulful, roots-y feel in Jackie's voice and the splendor of the material chosen for the album. I also advise you leave it on replay a couple of times. The music really grows on you.

JazzWax clips: Here's the title track...

Here's Jackie in 1964 singing When You Walk in the Room...

Here's Jackie in 1965 singing What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love...

Here's Jackie in 1965 singing Feel So Good...

Here's Jackie singing Put a Little Love in Your Heart in 1969...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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