music and memories
Are You Ready For This
RPM Records (RPM303)
by William George


The second release in RPM Recordsí acclaimed reissue series

The second release in RPM Recordsí acclaimed reissue series

               In 1966, a year after her breakthrough hit What the World Needs Now Is Love, Jackie released Are You Ready For This. With bits of Bacharach and homages to Motown, it
signalled a change in Jackie's style to a softer pop sound that would last until Laurel Canyon.
               Right from the gate, the queen of folk-rock announces she is the new pop princess by turning Chip Taylorís folk nugget I Can Make It With You into a power ballad. And she does it very effectively as well. The first single from the album, her version became another chart hit for Jackie.
               Less successful is Music and Memories, a sentimental ballad that sounds like a maturation of the early
Liberty sound, with swirling strings and insistent percussion. But Jackie's sweet and husky vocal delivery manages to save the song.
               Next up is the Goffin/King classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow. Jackie sings this like a young girl in puppy love for the first time. Giddy and infectious.
               Are You Ready For This is the first original DeShannon composition to appear on the album. With its Motown sound and soulful backing vocals, this song could have been a hit for the Supremes. It should have also been a hit for Jackie, and proves she can hold her own as a songwriter with Bacharach/David and Goffin/King.
               Another original composition, To Be Myself, is also successful. A welcome change in arrangement, featuring a twangy guitar and muted horns along with the strings and that persistent drumbeat. Jackie recorded a demo version of this as an intimate acoustic ballad. Joe and Eddie covered it in a folk-rock style. That all three versions work beautifully is a true testament to the quality of the songwriting.
               Yet another DeShannon original, Love Is Leading Me is another Supremes tribute. With its peppy arrangement, it is the epitome of the swinging sound of 1966.
               The first of three Bacharach/David tunes, Windows and Doors sounds like a bit of a throwaway. Jackie gives it her best, but she can't completely save the maudlin lyric and generic arrangement.
               Things pick up again with Jackie's impassioned version of the Italian pop standard You Don't Have To Say You
Love Me. Many singers have tackled this tune, but not very many come close to the intensity of feeling Jackie achieves here.
               Two more Bacharach/David songs follow.  So Long Johnny, while still not one of their classics, is at least more original than their previous track. To Wait For Love is the strongest of the trilogy, with Jackie capturing the ever-shifting moods with class and style.
               Tony Hatch's Call Me is full of energy, but smacks of filler.
               The album ends with another Jackie original, Find Me Love. Not quite as strong as her previous offerings, it is still one of the stronger cuts on the album, and brings the collection to nice close.
               As usual, RPM includes neat packaging, liner notes, and bonus tracks. No unreleased recordings on this one, but the rest of Jackie's Bacharach/David recordings are collected here. What the World Needs Now, Lifetime of Loneliness and Come And Get Me are all classics. An early recording, Be Good Baby, featuring Jimmy Page on guitar, was a precursor to the soft sound of this album. Three singles from the 1967 Lp New Image follow. Come On Down is an awkward folk-lounge hybrid, and a strange choice for a single. The Wishing Doll, from the film
Hawaii (Jackie performed this song live on the Oscar telecast) is more successful, with its tropical sound and Jackie's innocent delivery. Where Does the Sun Go, written by Jackie, deserves to be a folk classic. The unissued (until 1994) Warren Zevon song 500 Miles From Yesterday closes the CD. A great song, featuring one of Jackie's strongest vocal performances, it is unbelievable her record company abandoned this to the vaults. A true classic

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