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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last EMI does justice to a forgotten genius
This 4 CD set is every fan's dream. It contains Thackray's four studio albums, alternate versions, a host of previously unreleased songs and an entire CD of Thackray's early songs stripped of orchestras and jazz ensembles - just the man himself and his guitar, performing his songs much as he did in his thousands of live appearances in small clubs. There are gems too...
Published on 1 May 2006 by Paul T

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many duplicated tracks
Just a pity so many tracks were duplicated, brilliant and amusing as Thackray is.
Published 11 days ago by Why?


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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last EMI does justice to a forgotten genius, 1 May 2006
This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
This 4 CD set is every fan's dream. It contains Thackray's four studio albums, alternate versions, a host of previously unreleased songs and an entire CD of Thackray's early songs stripped of orchestras and jazz ensembles - just the man himself and his guitar, performing his songs much as he did in his thousands of live appearances in small clubs. There are gems too many to mention here, and humour and humanity in abundance. A pretty much definitive portrait of a late and greatly lamented genius, this set complements perfectly the new Live Performance CD.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unqualified delight, 13 Jun 2006
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
If you're already familiar with Jake Thackray's work it's the final CD that will be the real delight: unadorned guitar-and-vocal versions which show that the songs and delivery are almost all fully formed at this early stage, and that the more elaborate arrangements on the first album are essentially unnecessary.

There's a real sense of intimacy with the occasional false start left in or Jake (needlessly) apologising in advance to the producer or engineer about making mistakes on Remember Bethlehem.

It has long been one of my big regrets that I never got to see Jake perform live in 1977; listening to this disc in one sitting feels like the nearest thing to doing so - and no distracting laughter from other people.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jumbled up collection of most of the EMI releases, 24 Nov 2008
By 
Julie Cutler - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
Wow, I was quite shocked at the polarisation of the reviews of Jake's EMI releases (you just need to add the full recording of his live performance (Live Performance) to have pretty much the full works). Ah, but there is an explanation for the disappointment. Jake Thackray was a fantastic solo performer with a beautiful classical guitar style. Now helpful producers don't always recognise art, they like to domesticate it. The first CD starts with the over orchestrated LP "The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray" - yes they manage to musically imitate the pony's harness jingling in "The Little Black Foal". It's a bit of a teeth clencher when you know Jake well and just detracts from his dour West Riding accent and deadpan song writing. (I'm just getting thoughts of the Sing Something Simple Singers from classic Radio 2 singing "The Bantam Cock"- now that would be an improvement!). The choired up version of the additional track "Remember Bethlehem" (CD 1. Track 12) is a case in point-set your sights higher and start a little later on.

Oddly the editor chose to split up the individual albums so that you have to swap CDs mid way. Between releases they have salted the compilation with unreleased tracks....so to stop you being confused...(before you reorder them on the iPod).

Last Will and Testament 1967. CD 1. Tracks 1-11. The aforementioned over-orchestrated effort.

Jake's Progress 1969. CD 1. Tracks 16-22, CD 2. Tracks 1-7. With a thankfully more restrained accompaniment on piano, bass and guitar in demure cafe jazz style. Jake's vocals are just a little strained.

Bantam Cock 1972. CD 2. Tracks 19-25. CD 3. Tracks 1-6. With a slightly more inventive cafe jazz accompaniment and far more relaxed vocals.

On Again On Again 1976. CD 3. Tracks 10-21. Way better! A more sympathetic arrangement with backing guitar and bass which enhances Jake's solo style.

Last Will and Testament 1967. An unreleased acoustic version with a slightly different track listing from the orchestrated effort. CD 4. Tracks 1-12. A vast improvement on the "terribly nice" orchestrated version.

If you want to discover Jake's French inspiration (Gorilla, La-Di-Dah, Isabella) you can find exhaustive Georges Brassens compilations on the Amazon.fr website with full sample music files.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Write Top Notch Lyrics: The Masterclass, 2 Nov 2006
This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
Jake Thackray is criminally undervalued, destined forever to remain in the obscure limbo of genuine cultdom. One of the finest lyricists of the last 50 years, he ought to be that part of British culture about whom we can talk loudly at bus stops and on trains, in cafes and while passing on the street. Bizarrely maligned in the late 70's and early 80's, he was astutely political, humane and poetical, witty and cheeky. Any songwriter with aspirations to penning something interesting should take note and listen. Raise a glass to Jake.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg-ish., 28 Aug 2012
By 
David O (Verdun, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
This is a strange compilation! But I suppose you'd have to be a bit of a Thackray nut to buy it anyway. I listened to it methodically, disc by disc. Most of the songs are terrific, just a couple of duds he wrote and recorded for and with a school he taught at in Leeds. I really disliked the arrangements with the lush strings (disc 1 mostly, or maybe entirely). The versions with just two or three instruments were much better; in fact they turned out to be the best, because when I got to disc 4, which I'd been looking forward to, just Jake and unaccompanied guitar, he sang everything far too fast.

There were a couple of gems I'd never heard, particularly his other translations (other than Le Gorille) or adaptations of Brassens. I've never heard anyone who renders Brassens as well as Thackray! I'd love to have seen them together. Brassens had many protegés over the years, but no-one else managed to move him out of France, and I don't know of anyone else who Brassens allowed to do the first half of a concert. Thackray's French was good, but I can't imagine Brassens knew much English; how did he come to appreciate Thackray?

I only saw Jake once, at Rosehill in Cumbria. He never became the megastar that Brassens was, even though his verbal dexterity and his ability to craft tunes were at least as accomplished. National tradition and a difference of generation are a large part of it. But perhaps he was just too funny, too clever, never produced anything like "La messe au pendu" - I really would have liked to hear his adapatation of that one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
The man wrote brilliant songs with beautiful arrangements and I don't understand why I haven't been listening to him for a lot longer. I strongly recommend these recordings to anyone who is curious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GENIUS, 30 Mar 2013
By 
G. Hall "Offshore Radio Fan" (Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
GENIUS!
It's an over used word these days, but I make no apologies for using it again. In my opinion, that's the only way to describe Jake. I was first introduced to Jake way back in 1967 by a very early girlfriend who sang his praises after seeing him on The Bernard Braden programme on TV. I thought 'this singer is something special', from then on, I was hooked. I'd heard a few Jake tracks, but never got round to exploring his work further, only hearing the occasional song on the radio at the time. Remaining a fan for ages, I realise that some music genres are an acquired taste. My ex wife couldn't understand why I was such a fan of Jake, likewise my partner now is not a fan (love her still!). I did actually buy a Jake cd put out by EMI in the early days, and another 'best of' a few years later. But this set brings together virtually all of Jakes recordings, like another reviewer, I never saw Jake live, what a treat that would have been. There's a mix of songs, gentle folky type songs, songs where the obvious love of Yorkshire comes through, songs with a twist at the end, and then the comedy songs. I'm listening to this set at the moment, reliving some very happy memories. Reading the very informative booklet tells of Jakes admiration for the French singer Georges Brassens, and sleeve notes written by Bernard Braden, again Bernard's admiration for Jake comes through. I often feature Jake on my radio programmes on Lincoln City Radio, where at least two of my colleagues are fans of Jake too. Sound quality throughout is first class, this cd is a must for fans of sixties folk or straightforward pop music, give it a listen, like me you'll be hooked. Highly recommended.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure genius, 16 Oct 2006
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
There is little I can add to the reviews already posted here, except to say that Jake thackray is largely forgotten, grossly under rated, and should be considered a national treasure! Why is there no statue of him in his home town of Leeds?

Jake was a genuinely intelligent writer of both comic and profoundly moving songs. His wordcraft is simply superb, and he never fails to entertain. unlike most reviewers, however, I like the orchestrated arrangements of his songs as well as the 'man and his guitar' approach. I have waited years for EMI to finally release a complete collection fo his works. At last I can enjoy the full range of his output. It knocks spots off the rubbish churned out today. Buy this - you won't be dissapointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Any Thackray fan, 8 Jan 2014
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An extensive view into the remarkable mind of a particularly underrated singer/songwriter. If you've chanced upon this but have never heard JT before then do not hesitate if you like clear singing and sometimes hilarious lyrics. I envy anyone listening to Jake for the first time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jake Thackray EMI collection, 27 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 (Audio CD)
I'm relatively new to Jake Thackray. I stumbled upon him quite by chance after headring a tribute to him. The song i heard was the 'La di Dah' classic. I now curse myself forever for not having the foresight or luck to discover him sooner than grey hairs made themselves known. I now happily play catch up. I have plenty to go at. 'Jake In A Box' is a 4 disc package of delights that practically covers everything. Extra tracks. Rare demos. Secondary versions of his better known titles. This is all anyone will ever need. All of life is contained.

Disc 1 kicks off with the remarkable 'La Di Dah'. A love song with a twist. A young stag decreeing his love for his bride pre wedding day. A deep voice, heavy with a thick Yorkshire accent explains why and how he'll suffer his in-laws.
"I'll be polite to your daddy, frightfully la di dah, although he bores me to my boots, i love you very much. So i won't boo and hiss when he starts to reminisce, i won't drop off, i won't flare up. The runs he used to score and how he won the war, cross my heart. But i'll have to grit my teeth when he goes on about his rupture". This is Thackray at his best, expertly knitting humour and love together. Many songs are laugh out loud funny, such as Bantom Cock and Brother Gorilla. Others are serious tear spillers. Old Molly Metcalfe and I've Been Left On The Shelf are examples of Thackray's skill at gentle loneliness. Old Molly Metcalfe never fails to leave me with a lump in the throat. A desperately sad tale of isolation set deep in the Yorkshire Dales. Other times a friendly swipe at religion is on the cards, but only in a gentle back slapping kind of way.

Most, if not all of these songs, are a mixture of black comedy and loneliness with an almost out of body knowledge of despair. Jake Thackray resembles a chaotic mixture of Morrissey and Victoria Wood. There is real knowledge in his lyrics. Thackray lived. Thackray took notes. The lyrics are fast and furious. Words are thrown at the listener at break neck speed. Thackray doesn't wait for anybody to catch up. The word play is clever, often resembling tongue twisters. It's as though sometimes the words purposely don't fit the music, or vise versa, so it gives the impression words are shoehorned in, and the feeling of a lyrical rollercoaster with highs and lows and unexpected twists and turns. Thackray doesn't revel in his own power of word play. He writes automatically, if we can keep up, all the better, but Thackray marches on regardless.

The intricacies of relationships and every day life are dissected and explored in in ways only David Gedge of The Wedding Present can match.
Jake Thachray isn't for most. Far from it. But perseverance will pay you back double. These recordings are timeless. A life long collection of wonderous songs.
Northern life painted beautifully.

Sean from Kippax.
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Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976
Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976 by Jake Thackray (Audio CD - 2006)
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