JACKIE MOORE: I’m On My Way and With Your Love (Label: Expansion)

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JACKIE MOORE: I'm On My Way and With Your Love

Unlike most soul singers of her generation, Florida-born Jackie Moore didn’t hone her vocal skills singing gospel songs in church – instead she cut her musical teeth, so to speak, performing in groups like Jackie & The Jackettes at her local Jacksonville school. She used to spend her summer vacations in Philadelphia, where she had relatives, and while there, she gave a tape to Philly DJ/producer, Jimmy Bishop, and ended up recording a couple of sides for the indie labels Shout and Wand in the late ’60s. Bishop then sold Jackie’s contract to Atlantic, where she teamed up with her cousin, producer, Dave Crawford, and hit the big time with the 45 ‘Precious Precious’ (it was originally issued as a B-side but many DJs flipped it over, preferring ‘Precious Precious’ to the official A-side). The song sold a million copies but Jackie found her time at Atlantic frustrating as the label sat on a lot of material she recorded (a great deal of which, was recorded at Sigma Sound studios in Philadelphia with the Young Professionals production team). After one LP, ‘Sweet Charlie Babe,’ Jackie left Atlantic to join producer Brad Shapiro’s Kayvette label in 1975 where she scored her biggest chart success with ‘Make Me Feel Like A Woman.’ After five chart entries for Kayvette, it was time to move on and Jackie – who was already making the transition from soul singer to disco diva with Kayvette tracks like ‘Disco Body’ – joined Columbia in 1978. She hooked up with her old Philly buddy, MFSB guitar player/producer, Bobby Eli, and cut the album, ‘I’m On My Way,’ which comes to CD for the first time alongside Jackie’s follow-up and final Columbia LP, 1980’s ‘With Your Love.’ Despite the disco feel of some of the tracks – thanks to slurping hi-hats, galloping bass lines and schmaltzy Hollywood-style string charts – there’s no denying the soulfulness of Jackie Moore’s performances. Although the opener from ‘I’m On My Way,’ a souped-up mirror ball version of the O’Jays’ ‘This Time, Baby,’ is regarded by some as Jackie’s signature tune and remains a popular floor filler on the UK soul scene, it only scraped into the US R&B Top 30 back in 1979. Other highlights include the ballad ‘Joe’ – which Jackie had originally cut at Atlantic, though it was left in the can – and the infectious dance numbers, ‘Wrapped Up In Your Lovin’,’ and ‘Do Ya Got What It Takes.’ Style-wise, ‘With Your Love’ followed a similar disco-oriented trajectory to Jackie’s Columbia debut, opening with an update of Kim Weston’s Holland-Dozier-Holland-scribed Northern Soul anthem, ‘Helpless,’ and a remake of the Bobby Eli/Vinnie Barrett-penned ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait,’ which had earlier been a hit for Major Harris (Jackie’s version features a cameo from deep-voiced Manhattans’ singer, ‘Blue’ Lovett). To sum up then, a lovely little compilation that showcases the underappreciated vocal talent of Jackie Moore – if there’s one criticism that could be levelled at the CD, it’s the absence of Jackie Moore’s non-album single for Columbia, ‘Personally,’ which had as its flipside the collectable track, ‘Ain’t No Trouble Like Love Trouble.’ Those two would have made excellent bonus tracks but I guess time-wise, there was no room to include them here. Even so, a great compilation.
(CW) 4/5