Angel Air 2015
Great late Liverpudlian soulster’s treasure trove dusted off and uncovered.
There was much more to Jackie Lomax than him being the first artist signed to Apple Corps. by the Fabs and given “Sour Milk Sea” by George Harrison to nail and kickstart his career on vinyl. By then, the singer had settled down in America where his honeyed pipes felt more at home, yet for all Lomax’s promise and potential, his recorded output remained limited, the final spurt of activity hitting the spot when Jackie returned to Merseyside where he died in 2013, soon after "Against All Odds" made the cut. This compilation spans up to that period, so the crunchy cover of THE BLACK KEYS’ “Dead And Gone” sounds like a testament now, while the first disc also finds the veteran in top form on the swaggering “I Can’t Hold Out,” reunited with his old band THE UNDERTAKERS in 2008 whose early rhythm-and-blues track, the sparkling “Throw Your Love Away” from 1965, opens the second CD, all of which shows what an immaculate performer he was from the beginning to the very end.
Lomax’s talent shines brightly on the exuberant, emotional “Soul Light” from 1975 and on the tapes documenting his 1976 concert in San Francisco, where Jackie delivers an inspired take on the velvet “More (Livin’ For Lovin’)” – its previously unissued, well-polished studio version is also included here – as well as a vibrant rendition of his debut single, but it’s the funky “Hellfire, Night-Crier” that focuses on his silky seduction and it’s “Our Love” that offers a real flow of feelings and a nice vibrato over electric charge. So whereas “Genuine Imitation Life” from the ’60s demonstrates the singer’s ability to navigate the lushly orchestrated environment, and “Too Complicated” which he laid down with HEAVY JELLY is a nice slice of twangy joy with brass spiking the sweet voice, “The Eagle Laughs At You,” that comes from the live BBC session, reveals a deeper aspect of Jackie’s vocals inhabiting a rather heavy groove. It gets deliciously jazzy on 1985’s “Green Eyes” and laid-back, if as catchy, for the slow boogie of “California” from the previous decade – a fine appropriation of American lifestyle with a pinch of British sardonicism added to spike up the poignancy, before “The Little Things Of Love” shimmers and jitters in a Philly style, and “Fallen Angel” marries the tinseltown lights to a country lap steel guitar.
The same slightly sad effervescence fills “Hold On To What You Got” that underscores Lomax’s optimism, and his lyrical unwillingness to give up infuses another 1990 song, “Against All Odds” which lent its title to Jackie’s last-ever record. One not to bend, there was much more to him, and now this “more” has been added to the artist’s legacy.