Blue shadows, etc
Sometimes I think Chuck Jackson’s “Any Day Now” must be the greatest pop record ever made. What could better the elegant turns of Burt Bacharach’s melody, the striking imagery of Bob Hilliard’s lyric (those “blue shadows” falling all over town), the piping organ, muffled tympani and grieving femme chorale of Bert Keyes’ imaginative arrangement, and the deep emotion of Jackson’s restrained baritone, the instrument that made him the epitome of the male mid-’60s uptown soul singer?
The excuse for mentioning it, if one were needed, is the vinyl release of Chuck Jackson: The Best of the Wand Years, an Ady Croasdell compilation for Ace Records, in which “Any Day Now” is just one of 14 treats. “I Keep Forgetting”, with Teacho Wiltshire arranging the staccato boo-bams and tuba on behalf of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, leads the way, and other well known tracks include the beautifully poised “Since I Don’t Have You”, the operatic “Tell Him I’m Not Home” (with Doris Troy singing the title line), and “I Don’t Want to Cry”, Jackson’s first Wand single from 1961, with its sprightly Carole King string arrangement.
My other favourites are a magnificent King/Gerry Goffin song, “I Need You”, which I wrote about here, Van McCoy’s stately “I Can’t Stand to See You Cry”, and the unutterably groovy “Two Stupid Feet”, a song whose writers, Cara Browne and Luther Dixon, manage to feed Jackson the phrase “comfy and cozy” without disturbing his credibility. But really there isn’t a track here that isn’t outstanding, nothing that doesn’t make the world a better place.
A stunning song and performance, it’s true, but I’d have to make it equal top with Lorraine Ellison’s ‘Stay With Me Baby.’ Was that a convincing performance, or what?
Wonderful tracks, “Any Day” in particular. On the 1965 You tube clip, Burt Bacharach himself is playing/miming that little “organ trill” intro etc? “Sophistication”, now sadly all remaindered, it’s just not selling no more.
Elvis Presley also recorded a stellar version of Any Day Now in 1969. He clearly understood the power of the song as well.
Since I Don’t Have You is chocolately beautiful
Let the church say Amen!
I saw Burt play a rare evening of his songs about fifteen years ago at a posh showcase in Los Angeles. To give you an idea, Dionne appeared and sang a few, after Burt told the audience that day was her birthday–and Dionne doesn’t sing on her birthday for love OR money. But she sang that night. Burt ran through his hits and the audience was right with him. He introduced “Any Day Now” as maybe his favorite song of them all.
Really jealous of that, Kirk. I’ve seen Dionne and Burt a few times each, but never together. And I’m delighted to hear his opinion of ‘Any Day Now’.
I love Any Day Now, too, and my daughter is also a fan thanks to Jonny Greenwood’s brilliant soundtrack to Inherent Vice, which has been a favorite of both of ours since it came out!