Angel Air 2014
Triumphant homecoming and a final offering from one of the greatest Mercyside warblers who didn’t live to see it out.
There were many sides to Jackie Lomax who died in September 2013, soon after finishing this record. A friend of The Fabs, his single “Sour Milk Sea” appeared among the first Apple releases, while later the singer re-emerged as a frontman for the prog-minded BADGER, but no matter what genre Lomax dabbled with his voice had always carried a soul message, to the very end, and “Against All Odds” – both the album and its opening track – is a testament to his strong will, loving nature and Liverpudlian persistence. Released exactly 45 years after “Is This What You Want?”, Jackie’s debut LP, it implements the same modus operandi – one piece laid down one side of the Pond, with the rest on the other – yet now most of it got preserved for posterity in the artist’s hometown to pick up where "The Ballad Of Liverpool Slim" left off.
Lomax might channel Percy Sledge in the likes of “In Love For Good” or “Still In Love” yet, ultimately, he shines as an unique Northern diamond here. But then, “Destiny” – peppered with percussion and Latinesque guitar for sharpness – poises a lot of questions any man of certain age might ask himself, especially if he’s going to stroll down the memory lane such as the bittersweet “When We Were Young” which wraps electric charge in an acoustic web. Jackie did so in the real life, too: having visited England more and more often in the last years, the veteran renewed his friendship with sax player Brian Jones, his erstwhile partner in THE UNDERTAKERS, who co-produced this dozen of cuts, co-wrote one and added tasty licks in many a place here, where all the facets of the singer’s gift come together.
Full of memorable tunes, it flows softly from the “start-stop” Stax momentum of the title song to the velvet finale of “Annie (I Can’t Say Goodbye)” that turns the penultimate blues “Let’s Call It Quits” on their head. That’s the resolution for the stubbornness borne out of “Don’t Talk Down To Me” and its slide-kissed, farewell-promising boogie strut, its stride a strident contract to the sunny, Philly-shiny “Easier To Give In” which, of course, only stresses the unyielding message of it all, as does “I Must Be Doing Something Right” with its vaudeville undercurrent and boiling organ. There shouldn’t have been no doubts: Jackie Lomax got it done all right and left this world a melodically richer place.