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Archive for August 14th, 2010
14 Aug

Those ’60s Ladies: Jackie Trent

It all started with “Dusty in Memphis.” The soul of Dusty Springfield and the brilliant songs quickly made this album one of my all-time favorites. Then along came Petula Clark and her hits like “Dowtown.” Through Petula I discovered the songwriter Tony Hatch and his muse/co-writer Jackie Trent. Before I knew it I was hooked on ’60s pop songs sung by British ladies. There is something about these quick 2-3 minute pop gems and the vocalists that become pure ear candy to me. I often thought that the style of music I wrote would have fit perfectly in this era. I could have been a contender! Alas, the time has passed for these confectionary treats, but I’m still hooked.

Of course the queen of the genre is Dusty Springfield. The song choices are more mature than the other ladies and her sophisticated blue-eyed soul delivery puts her in a class all by herself. The princess would then have to be Petula Clark with her more pop-oriented hits and bubbly voice. However, I often like to focus on the lesser known ladies who may have had a hit or two in the UK but were not able to translate their minor successes into the big time.

Mentioned previously, Jackie Trent is one of my favorites. Working with Tony Hatch, they created a catalog of quality work that was highlighted by Jackie’s voice, which was a bit deeper and more powerful than most of her peers. Although she had some chart action, she could never fully capture the success of Petula, which is unfortunate. In addition to having a great voice, she was one of the few vocalists that wrote songs as well. Along with Hatch they were like the British equivalent of Burt Bacharach and Hal David supplying hits to other artists like Petula Clark. Jackie’s biggest solo hit was the sweeping UK #1 “Where Are You Now (My Love),” but my favorite is it’s follow-up “When Summertime Is Over,” a breezy ballad with a soaring chorus and harp glissandi all done in less than three minutes.

If you really want to get a taste of some excellent pop music from this era, I highly suggest you check out the work of Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch. They really set the standard for all those that followed.

I’ll focus on other lost ladies of the ’60s in the future.

Recommended recordings:

“Where Are You Now: The Pye Anthology” – Jackie Trent (especially disc 1)

“Call Me: The Songs of Tony Hatch” – Various Artists

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