Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jackie And Van

One of my fellow Van Morrison fan friends Petra recently embarked on a project to compile a catalogue of the musicians who have played and recorded with Van over the course of his long career. She has done a great job including biographies, pictures and video's of the musicians and has had a lot of positive feedback from a lot of the musicians themselves. You can see Petra's Van's Musicians page here-
                                                          I have made a couple of suggestions to Petra of people she might like to add to the list and one of them was Jackie DeShannon. This is because I knew that Jackie had sung backing vocals on a couple of Van's albums and had co-written the song Santa Fe which appeared on Van's Wavelength album. One of my favourite Van songs is Warm Love on the album Hard Nose The Highway on which Jackie Sings backing vocals. In the song Van sings,' You can bring your guitar along, we'll sing some songs and have some fun'. Surely it would be Van who would bring his guitar along. Who is this guitar playing singer he is referring to?. Could it be Jackie herself?. This got me wondering about Jackie so I investigated further. I knew a bit about her already.
 She had a top ten hit with What The World Needs Now Is Love and had written hits for The Searchers and Bette Davis Eyes which Kim Carnes had a huge hit with. She had appeared with The Beatles on their first USA tour (See photo of George Harrison and Jackie playing Monopoly) and in England she had a brief relationship with a young guitarist called Jimmy Page (See Picture) and wrote and recorded with Jimmy.

 Looking through her discography I noticed that she had made an album in 1972 simply called 'Jackie' and I was interested to see that one of the songs was I Wanna Roo You which was written by Van. What amazed me though was that this album was reissued in 2003 with twelve bonus tracks and four of them were written by Van of which I had never heard of two of them before. I knew I had to buy this album and today it dropped through my letterbox.                                                        I must say it is a really nice album. As well as some of Jackie's own compositions there are covers of songs by John Prine, Neil Young, Steve Goodman and Drift Away which was a big hit for Dobie Gray and five Van Morrison songs. 
It is the Van songs that I want to talk about. The cover of I Wanna Roo You is quite pleasant and better than the Goldie Hawn version that I have on an album. The other four Van songs were produced by Van for his Caledonia Productions and recorded in Los Angeles on April 11 and 12 1973. They are Sweet Sixteen which was actually released as a single,Flamingos Fly which Van later released himself on A Period Of Transition and The Philosophers Stone album. I think Jackie's version is really good, Santa Fe which they co-wrote and The Wonder Of You which is excellent and I have put the youtube video below.Listening carefully to these tracks I am quite certain that it is Van on backing vocals. Have a listen and see what you think. 
You can also read what Jackie said about Van if you click on the words from the sleeve notes. Anyway I am really pleased that this CD is now in my collection and thank you Petra for inspiring me to discover something about Van that I didn't know before.

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