JACKIE MOORE-I’M ON MY WAY.

JACKIE MOORE-I’M ON MY WAY.

Although many people remember Jackie Moore for her million selling single Precious, Precious released in 1970 on Atlantic Records, there’s much more to her career than just one track. Jackie’s career started in 1968, with Dear John, released in 1968 on Shout Records. Two years later, in 1970, came Precious, Precious which was certified gold in March 1971. After the success of Precious, Precious, Atlantic decided to release Jackie Moore’s debut album in 1973. Sweet Charlie Babe was essentially a collection of Jackie’s singles, containing two of her biggest hits Precious, Precious and Sweet Charlie Babe. This was the only album Jackie released on Atlantic and it would be two further years before she’d release her next album. Make Me Feel Like A Woman was released in 1975, on Kayvette Records. The next time Jackie Moore would record an album, would be for Columbia Records. Producing what would become I’m On My Way would be Bobby Eli, with whom Jackie had met while recording her debut album Sweet Charlie Babe. Together, with some of Philly’s finest musicians, the resulting album, I’m On My Way featured another of Jackie’s biggest singles, This Time Baby, previously made famous by The O’Jays. Once I’ve told you the background to I’m On My Way, I’ll tell you about the music on the album.

While Bobby Eli was producing what would become I’m On My Way, the Philadelphia influence on the album can’t be underestimated. Bobby Eli cowrote five of the albums tracks. Four of the tracks he cowrote with Jeffrey Pusan, while Bruce Gray cowrote the other track with Bobby and Jeffrey. Kenny Gamble cowrote Joe with Norman Harris and Alan Felder. This Time Baby, which Leroy Bell and Casey James of the Philly group Bell and James cowrote. This track had featured on The O’Jays 1978 album So Full of Love. So seven of the eight tracks on I’m On My Way had made in Philadelphia written all over it. So would the musicians who played on the album.

Accompanying Jackie Moore were some of Philadelphia International Records’ legendary house-band M.F.S.B. This included guitarists Norman Harris of the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section, percussionist Larry Washington, keyboard player Lenny Pakula, drummer Keith Benson and the unmistakable sound of Don Renaldo and The Philadelphia Horns and Strings. Arranging the tracks on I’m On My Way, were Jack Faith, Norman Harris and Bobby Eli. Not only was Bobby Eli arranging and producing I’m On My Way, but played guitar on the album. Recording of the album took place at Sigma Sound Studios and the album was released in 1979.

I’m On My Way wasn’t a huge commercial success on it release in 1979. However, when This Time Baby was released as a single, it proved hugely successful, reaching number one in the Hot Dance Music-Club Play chart. This Time Baby would later be sampled by The Freemasons featuring Amanda Wilson on their 2005 hit Love On My Mind. On Love On My Mind, Jackie Moore with the help of Bobby Eli and Philly’s finest musicians fused disco and Philly Soul over eight tracks, which I’ll now tell you about.

Opening With Your Love is This Time Baby which Leroy Bell and Casey James cowrote. It’s a true disco classic, with a really fresh, contemporary sound. Pounding drums and bass open the track, before Larry Washington adds percussion. This gives way to soaring backing vocalists, before the percussion takes over. Eventually, after the drama has been built up, Jackie’s seductive vocal enters. Later, percussion, rhythm section, cascading strings and then blazing horns enter, before dramatic backing vocalists add the finishing touch to the track. Not only is arranger Norman Harris and producer Bobby Eli’s use of them stunning, building up the drama, but are key to the track’s contemporary sound. Tracks like this would later, play a huge part in the development of house music. However, for seven minutes, Jackie plus Philly’s finest musicians produce a disco class classic, one that could only have been made in one place…Philly. The result is a track that’s dramatic, soulful and one of Jackie’s best ever tracks.

Joe is a track that Kenny Gamble, Norman Harris and Alan Felder cowrote, and allows Jackie to demonstrate her soulful roots. Her voice is emotive, heartfelt and tinged with regret. Strings sweep and swirl, horns rasp, while the rhythm section replicate the drama and emotion in Jackie’s voice. Flourishes of piano and guitar drift in and out, while backing vocalists accompany Jackie’s vocal which is intense and impassioned. A flute floats in, as horns rasp and strings quiver as Jackie reveals her hurt and heartbreak. Not only is there an intensity in her delivery, but she displays a soulfulness and passion, which is reflected in the arrangement.

Can You Tell Me Why sees the album head in the direction of disco. From the opening bars, you’re totally hooked. A flourish of piano, bursts of rasping horns, cooing backing vocalists and shimmering strings combine with a pounding rhythm section. Everything is in place for Jackie’s vocal. Jackie doesn’t disappoint, transforming herself into a disco diva, with swooning backing vocalists accompanying her sassy vocal. Meanwhile, Bobby Eli’s arrangement is laden with cascading strings, that dance above her vocal, while the rhythm section provide the track’s pulsating heartbeat. After a percussive break, the track heads to a close, after six irresistible minutes and disco drenched minutes.

Let’s Go Somewhere and Make Love sees the tempo drop slightly, but the quality is still what you’d expect from an album produced by Bobby Eli and featuring the talents of Jack Faith who arranged this track. It’s one of these tracks that just totally joyous, uplifting and makes you want to dance. Jackie’s vocal is accompanied by lush strings, percussion, braying horns and the rhythm section. Backing vocalists augment her vocal, as this tantalizing arrangement reveals its charms and delights. It’s a fusion, of Latin music, soul, funk and disco, mixed together to create a hook-laden, joyful and uplifting track.

When I’m On My Way begins, Jackie and producer Bobby Eli throw a curve-ball. It’s just flourishes of harp and guitar that accompany subtle backing vocalists and Jackie. Then suddenly, the track explodes into life, sweeping you along in its wake. Swathes of strings, the rhythm section and bursts of punchy horns accompany Jackie’s soaring, emotive vocal. Backing vocalists sweep in, while bursts of horns and Bobby Eli’s guitar combine. Key to the track are the dancing strings and pounding, dramatic rhythm section. Together with Jackie’s vocal they sweep you along on captivating and enchanting musical journey, one that’s full of emotion and drama.

Although I’m On My Way is an album full of some great vocals from Jackie Moore, How’s Your Love Life Baby, features a really strutting, sassy and powerful vocal from Jackie.  It’s delivered against a backdrop that’s laden with cascading strings, flourishes of piano, blazing horns and driving rhythm section. Backing vocalists play an important part in the track’s success. So do sweeping, swirling strings, bursts of punchy rasping horns and dramatic drums that punctuate that arrangement. Later, the unmistakable sound of Bobby Eli’s guitar playing enters, before later, the track takes a brief excursion into funk. Mostly the track’s a fusion of Philly Soul and disco, featuring as Jackie delivers one of her best vocals on the album.

Wrapped Up In Your Lovin’ is another track that Bobby Eli and Jeffrey Prusan cowrote. Here, Jackie’s vocal is powerful, passionate and soulful, soaring above the arrangement, She’s accompanied by equally soulful backing vocalists, while bursts of rasping horns, lush strings, keyboards combine. They provide an arrangement that’s not just hugely catchy, but reflects the drama, emotion and passion of Jackie’s vocal. Later, strings shimmer and quiver, as the drama builds and builds. Unfazed, Jackie somehow, raises her game, while equally dramatic, impassioned backing vocalists accompany her, adding to the emotion, drama and beauty of the track.

Closing I’m On My Way is Do Ya Got What It Takes, arranged by Jack Faith. Bursts of shivering strings, drums and blazing horns open the track, before Jackie’s vocal enters. She’s accompanied by swathes of strings, percussion and guitars, before backing vocalists sweep in. Throughout the track, bursts of horns and drums add drama. This is reflected in Jackie’s vocal. It too, is delivered in short, dramatic bursts, before soaring high and powerfully. Backing vocalists augment her vocal, delivering tight harmonies. Together with Jackie and some of Philly’s finest musicians they fittingly, bring I’m On My Way to a close, with a track that could only have been made in one place…Philadelphia.

To me, I’m On My Way, Jackie Moore’s third album, is something of a hidden gem, full of delicious disco and Philly Soul. While This Time Baby is the best known track on I’m On My Way, there’s much more to the album than just this one track. Good as This Time Baby is, and it’s a classic track, thanks to producer Bobby Eli and some of Philly’s finest arrangers, musicians and songwriters the album is quality from the album’s opening bars to its closing notes. After one great track, comes another, just as good. Among I’m On My Way’s highlights are Can You Tell Me Why, Let’s Go Somewhere and Make Love, How’s Your Love Life Baby and Wrapped Up In Your Lovin.’ Five of the album’s eight tracks were co-written by Bobby Eli, who not only produced I’m On My Way and arranged four tracks. Along with arrangers Norman Harris and Jack Faith, Bobby Eli played his part in the album’s success and sound. Jackie Moore’s vocals are variously emotive, impassioned, powerful and sassy. Whichever emotion was required, Jackie could get it across, breathing life and energy into the lyrics. Why an album as good as I’m On My Way wasn’t a bigger success seems strange. Maybe the problem was that by the time I’m On My Way was released, that disco wasn’t as popular. After the events at Comiskey Park in Chicago in July 1979, disco’s popularity declined. The Disco Sucks backlash caused sales of disco albums to decline. However, while disco suddenly sucked, I’m On My Way was an album full of some great music. This is music that has stood the test of time, and thirty-three years later, I’m On My Way is just as good as the day the album was released. Standout Tracks: This Time Baby, Can You Tell Me Why, Let’s Go Somewhere and Make Love and How’s Your Love Life Baby.

JACKIE MOORE-I’M ON MY WAY.

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