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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding but obscure singer, 14 Jun. 2008
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: End Of A Rainbow - A Pye Anthology (Audio CD)
Born and raised in Ireland, Jackie Lee moved to Britain to seek her fame and fortune. Throughout much of the fifties and sixties, Jackie recorded some brilliant music, solo and as lead singer of the Raindrops, without any chart success. Jackie was more successful as a session singer, as she sang on two number one hits - Green green grass of home (Tom Jones) and Release me (Engelbert Humperdinck) and a number of other major hits. Jackie even recorded a duet with Cliff Richard. Sadly, that wasn't included on his recent Duets part-compilation. As I write this, it is hard to find but will likely be re-issued at some time.

Jackie's first and most famous hit was White horses, a theme to a children's TV series. It made the British top ten in 1968, but there was no quick follow-up hit. When I discovered this compilation of Jackie's later music, I was at first annoyed that this famous song was missing. I know that it was recorded for a different label, but I thought the sensible thing would have been to license it. If you're only going to have one Jackie Lee compilation, it makes sense to include her most famous song, right? But I bought this compilation anyway and, in researching Jackie's music for this review, I discovered a very good reason for the omission of White horses. There are hopes (unfulfilled as I write this) for more of Jackie's music to be released on CD. Indeed, there is enough material for a further two compilations, one of which would include White horses. In those circumstances, it wouldn't be good business sense for the label owning the rights to that track to license it to a different label.

So having satisfied myself with that, I could enjoy this compilation all the more. The 26 tracks here account for everything that Jackie recorded for Pye between 1969, when she signed for them, and 1973, when she was forced to quit singing because of vocal problems. While Jackie was a supremely talented singer who could sing just about anything, her mainstream records failed to sell.

The theme to another children's TV series, Rupert the bear, gave Jackie another hit that made it to 14 on the British charts, not as big as White horses, but still significant for a children's song. Jackie really didn't want to be typecast as a children's singer but she nevertheless recorded a German version of the song and also recorded an album, Jackie's junior choice, that contained some children's sons along with covers of contemporary hits. The children's songs included the Beatles song Octopus's garden, but I see that she didn't record Puff the magic dragon or Yellow submarine. I would have preferred either of those to a cover of Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep, although to be fair, Jackie's version sounds much better than the hit versions (Mac and Katie Kissoon, Middle of the Road). Perhaps the best cover on the album was I'm a song sing me (written by Neil Sedaka) Having thus been typecast, Jackie recorded several more children's songs (Johnny said come over, Peter Pan, Inigo Pipkin). These records outsold Jackie's mainstream music without charting.

Perhaps it is no surprise that buyers of mainstream music weren't interested in Jackie Lee by then. Teenagers in particular wouldn't want to be seen buying music by anybody famous for singing to children. After all, they were trying to prove to everybody that they'd grown out of that stuff. The real mystery is why an earlier generation didn't buy Jackie's records before anybody had heard White horses. But let's be clear - Jackie was a brilliant singer of mainstream music. Equally brilliant at soft, romantic ballads (Something borrowed something blue) or bouncy, up-tempo songs (Love is a gamble) and with a truly outstanding voice, Jackie deserved to be a major star. Maybe her success as a session singer distracted her attention as some have suggested. Whatever the reason, this compilation showcases Jackie's talents superbly. Other great songs include Everybody needs a little loving, If everyday was like today, One more mountain, What will I do, Friends with you, Black country, You make my head spin, Hallelujah lamb and the previously unreleased Beautiful city.

Whatever the reasons for Jackie's lack of commercial success at the time, it seems that her music has not been forgotten - and nor should it be. I really hope that more of Jackie's music is released on CD. The chances of that happening will be improved if lots of people buy this compilation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JACKIE LEE IS BRILLIANT - AND SO IS THE CD!, 4 May 2011
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This review is from: End Of A Rainbow - A Pye Anthology (Audio CD)
An excellent collection of songs from a lady with a fantastic voice!


- on some other CDs it is in mono.

Jackie has left us with a wonderful legacy of beautiful recordings - Irish eyes are smiling!
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End Of A Rainbow - A Pye Anthology
End Of A Rainbow - A Pye Anthology by Jackie Lee (Audio CD - 2012)
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