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JACKIE OATES - The Joy Of Living 

JACKIE OATES - The Joy Of Living 
ECC Records ECC018 

I first heard Jackie singing about 15 years ago (was it Bromyard?), and remember thinking what a remarkable ability she had. Her subsequent career’s proved that, and this latest offering should further enhance her reputation. It’s grown out of a time of intense emotional fluctuation as a consequence of the birth of her daughter Rosie and, a few days later, the sudden death of her father. Both can be heard on this recording – the emotional intensity as Jackie sings with a recording of her father on Rolling Home is palpable.

The recording process was an organic thing, as songs recorded at home developed an accretion of (excellent) accompaniment from a stellar cast of collaborators who all recorded in the kitchen. This has given the CD an immediacy and intimacy that underlines the feelings generated by the song lyrics. The songs themselves have been selected with the usual Oates eclecticism, from trad to Lennon and Darwin Dees, plus one beautifully gentle lullaby from Jackie herself.

For me, she has always been an excellent interpreter of songs, with an ability to make you re-assess the familiar – putting her own stamp on them, if you will – and never better than on this recording; her take on MacColl’s Joy Of Living and Bill Caddick’s Unicorns take both songs to a different level, and this is the case with many of the songs here. I found this album totally involving, and I’m sure many others will – try it.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.