11 November 2022
This afternoon, I pieced together my Shopping Quilt, listening to Jack Jones.
I used to own CDs of Mr. Jones, but for creative reasons, I gave them away a while back. And, then, recently, I found myself in dire need of a few hard copies of a singer who is, in my opinion, one of the finest of all-time. I had to purchase one vintage CD from England, and two from an online hard-to-find source.
Jack Jones is the ultimate when it comes to singing, and living, romance. I’ve read that he’s been married six times. Why limit him? I ask.
On a personal level, my favorite tenor is Dean Martin, who never sang the same song the same way twice. From a professional, artistic, and aesthetic standpoint, however, I pick Jack. He sings every song just about the same way, in a flowing, resonant style that is very much bel canto. His delivery is instinctive, distinctive, uniformly masterful in texture, unpretentious, and enormously appealing to the ear, and to the heart.
Jack doesn’t vocalize with histrionics to prove he can sing: he simply (which is not so simple) sings!
That ineffable and exquisite technique becomes a problem for Mr. Jones with certain songs that were pitched his way. Hearing him attempt to infuse some life — or sincere feeling — into “Alfie” is painful to me. I skip past it. And I head straight for:
If ever a song was meant — destined — for one particular singer to record and make his own — it’s “Lady”.
The lyrics were written by Larry Kusik and Charles Singleton, with music by Bert Kaempfert and Herbert Rehbein. That mellow trumpet and those lush strings mesh like magic with the wondrously smooth but sensual voice of Jones in ways that create a transport of just about every triumphant emotion that a woman, at least this woman, can and does feel.
Released as a single in 1967, “Lady” hit number one on the U.S. Easy Listening chart and stayed there for four weeks. It was the last Top 40 Hit for Jack, and that numerical predicament was largely caused by The Top 40 becoming a morass of asinine songs that scarcely could be called music.
Whenever I hear the singing voice of Jack Jones, I’m instantly aware of the incredibly gifted talent of this man who, when young, was not quite experienced enough to express the fullest meanings of the lyrics that he intoned with such impeccable skill. As a more mature man, he was able to suffuse “Lady” with worldly charm and experienced tenderness, along with pleas of patience that only a battle-scarred heart can affirm.
By the late 1960s, his timbre, intonation, breath control, dynamics, phrasing, innate sense of the verse, and of the lines within each verse: all were phenomenally natural and trained. He’s that good.
Why he therefore didn’t become a bigger hit in the USA is not for me to completely say. His voice was too superb to even approach the pap and the crap called Pop that got peddled in America, and elsewhere, throughout the late 1960s and beyond, into infantile-noise infinity.
His crooning a measure of adult sensibility into the pubescent “And I Love Her” did not strike me, because “strike” is too forceful a verb, but nudged me to determinedly sew together my fabric squares on my machine with the ardently desired whirring effect. White noise has its place! And those squares came together perfectly!
Jack’s no square or L7, though. He’s a classic, always has been, always will be. A classic masculine sonority that will last forever.
The best, perhaps the only terrific, part, of the tv-show THE LOVE BOAT (1977-1986) was the theme song by Jack, performed with glee in the face of so much stagflation and emotional stagnation (aka depression) in the USA.
By the 1990s, Jack went on his way, from the USA, to performing in the UK, and moving on, to newer phases, most recently, to jazz and blues compositions that do his blessed vocal cords proud.
I enjoy his “hits” as if they are new, today. I appreciate the lyrics in a way that gives me devilish delight: They’re so beautiful! So politically incorrect!!
Tell her you care each time you speak
Make it her birthday each day of the week.
Wives should always be lovers too.
Call me irresponsible
Call me unreliable
Throw in undependable, too
Do my foolish alibis bore you?
Well, I'm not too clever,
I just adore you
Call me unpredictable
Tell me I'm impractical
Rainbows, I'm inclined to pursue.
“A Day in the Life of a Fool” is the title of a sweetly melancholy lament by a man trying to get over a lost love and failing to do so with the most wistful pledge that any woman might ever hear from a man she’s loved.
All in all, my sewing time was enormously eased today by the captivating serenades from a man who knows how to tickle the symphonic fancy of a woman such as me. I’m proud and pleased, and tickled pink to thrill to love songs that possess words of romance and melodies of magnificence that touch the heart, in oh so many ways.
Jack’s got 5 decades of love songs to offer to the world, a world that needs love, true love, now, more than ever.
Lady: Why waste all your loveliness on someone if he really doesn't care?
I solemnly wish more women would ask themselves that question.