...these two delightful sets should shine a much-needed light on this lugubrious...
Daryl Easlea 2006-06-28
After his late 60s and early 70s heyday, when he could be found on national telly and Royal Variety Shows with his hilarious vignettes of life and love, Jake Thackray's death in 2002 went largely unreported, having retired from the music business around a decade earlier. Fortunately, an upcoming BBC documentary and these two delightful EMI-released sets should shine a much-needed light on this lugubrious Yorkshireman and his quiver of quippery.
The four CD Jake In A Box contains all of his EMI studio recordings, including the unreleased, unadorned version of his first album, The Last Will And Testament Of Jake Thackray. There is tremendous depth and intimacy to his work. Religion, women, social rituals and family traditions are all ridiculed with a great deal of affection and self-deprecation. It really is all about the detail - the upstairs aspidistra room lit by candlelight in ''The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle'' or the ''Jolly Captain'''s watercress and butter all add amazing piquancy to these bittersweet songs.
The double Live Performance from his 1970 Queen Elizabeth Hall concert is equal to his studio work. His witty, understated introductions to his songs make them come alive, and there is enough straight pathos among the laughs (''The Black Swan'', for one) to make this a must-have purchase.