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England

Jake Thackray

Compilations


The Very Best of Jake Thackray (1975)
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  • The Very Best of Jake Thackray
    • 1975 – EMI EMC 3103 LP

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  • Side One
    1. Lah–Di–Dah
    2. Country Bus
    3. Worried Brown Eyes
    4. The Cactus
    5. Jolly Captain
    6. Caroline Diggeby–Pratte
    7. Brother Gorilla (Le Gorille) (Brassens/Thackray)
    8. Sophie
    9. Personal Column
    10. The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle
  • Side Two
    1. Jumble Sale
    2. Family Tree
    3. Isabel Makes Love Upon National Monuments
    4. Ulysees
    5. Bantam Cock
    6. Miss World
    7. The Statues
    8. Grandad
    9. Leopold Alcox
    10. The Last Will And Testament Of Jake Thackray

  • Notes:
    • All tracks written by Jake Thackray, unless otherwise noted.

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Lah–Di–Dah
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  • Lah–Di–Dah
    • 1991 - EMI TCIDL 115 LP
    • 1991 - EMI CDIDL 115 (CDP 7 96271 2) CD — w/Bonus Tracks

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  • Side One
    1. Lah–Di–Dah
    2. On Again! On Again!
    3. Country Bus
    4. Worried Brown Eyes
    5. The Cactus
    6. Jolly Captain
    7. Caroline Diggeby–Pratte
    8. Brother Gorilla (Le Gorille) (Brassens/Thackray)
    9. Sophie
  • Side Two
    1. Personal Column
    2. Jumble Sale
    3. Family Tree
    4. Isobel Makes Love Upon National Monuments
    5. Bantam Cock
    6. The Statues
    7. Sister Josephine
    8. Isobel
    9. The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray
  • Extra tracks on the CD:
    1. The Kiss
    2. The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle
    3. Ulysees
    4. Grandad

  • Credits
    • All tracks: Words & Music by Jake Thackray, unless otherwise noted.

CD Release Notes

Released in 1991, at a time when Jake Thackray's legend was at its lowest–ever ebb, Lah Di Dah was a barely noticed collection of 22 songs drawn from throughout the master's EMI catalog, and truly highlighting many of his most memorable compositions. From "Sister Josephine" to "The Cactus," from "Brother Gorilla" to "Bantam Cock" and on, of course, to the title track, Lah Di Dah spotlights Thackray at both his most lugubriously earthy, and his most touchingly tender. It is not the ultimate in Thackray collections — too many classics are absent for that (no "Old Molly Metcalfe" or "The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker," for example). But it took Thackray's death over a decade later to finally prompt the reissue gates to spring open and, until that time, this was as good as it got.

Dave Thompson

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The Jake Thackray Project
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  • The Jake Thackray Project
    • 2002 – G8ina Studios G8CD-010 CD (x2)

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  • Disc One
    1. Scallywag
    2. The Black Swan
    3. Little Black Foal
    4. Country Girl
    5. On the Shelf
    6. Salvation Army Girl
    7. The Blacksmith & the Toffeemaker
    8. The Hole
    9. Mrs Murphy
    10. One-Eyed Isaac
    11. Nurse
    12. Miss World
    13. Pass Milord the Rooster Juice
    14. Remember Bethlehem
    15. Ladies Basic Freedom Polka
    16. Leopold Alcocks
    17. The Lodger
    18. Romance
    19. Fine Bay Pony
    20. The Singer
    21. The Girl with the Fragile Eyes
    22. Go Little Swale
    23. The Girl in the Window
    24. It Was Only a Gypsy
    25. Old Molly Metcalfe
    26. To Do With You
  • Disc Two
    1. Lullaby
    2. The Ballad of Billy Kershaw
    3. The Rain on the Mountainside
    4. Isabella (Brassens/Thackray)
    5. I Stayed Off Work Today
    6. Poor Sod
    7. The Hair of the Widow of Bridlington
    8. Over to Isobel (Brassens/Thackray)
    9. The Brigadier
    10. Joseph
    11. One of Them
    12. The Bull
    13. The Remembrance
    14. Country Boy
    15. Tra-La-La
    16. Le Cygne Noir (Bergman/Thackray)
    17. Tortoise
    18. Side by Side
    19. Dans L'Eau de La Claire Fontaine (Brassens)
    20. Our Dog

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  • Credits
    • Producer: David Harris
    • Words & Music: Jake Thackray, unless otherwise noted.
    • Limited edition of 300
    • Released:
      • Initial edition of 200, November 2002
      • Second and final edition of 100, January 2003

Sleeve Notes

First edition © November 12 2002
Jake Thackray is undoubtedly a genius, of this I am quite sure. And the members of the Topica Jake Thackray Group all agree. This is how this CD set came into being. In May 2002, I was contacted by Sarah with an invitation to join a discussion group, based on the works of Jake Thackray. Before very long we had well over 100 members, clamouring for info on Jake and his songs. To cut a long story short, we decided to work with EMI, and with their kind permission we recovered 42 songs from original vinyl and restored them to CD quality. All funds raised from the sale of this CD will go directly to Jake or his nominated charity. We hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as we did making it.

Revised for Second edition ©January 23 2003
Jake Thackray was a genius, of this I am sure. And the members of the Jake Thackray Net Groups all agree. This is how this CD set came into being. In May 2002, I was contacted by Sarah with an invitation to join a discussion group, based on the works of Jake Thackray. Before very long we had a huge membership clamouring for info on Jake and his songs. We worked with EMI and under licence we restored 42 songs from vinyl & mastered them to CD quality. All funds raised from the sale of this CD will go directly to Jake's family. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did making it. Jake died on 24/12/02, knowing about the Project and giving it his blessing. God Bless you Jake …

David Harris (Producer: The Jake Thackray Project)

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Jake Thackray Collection
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  • Jake Thackray Collection
    • 2003 – HMV Easy 7243 5 94094 2–2 CD

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  • Track List:
    1. The Lodger
    2. The Bull
    3. Jolly Captain
    4. Dog
    5. Black Swan
    6. Ulysses
    7. Little Black Foal
    8. Girl With The Fragile Eyes
    9. One–Eyed Isaac
    10. Fine Bay Pony
    11. Remember Bethlehem
    12. Girl In The Window
    13. Ladies Basic Freedoms Polka
    14. The Cactus
    15. The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle
    16. Jumble Sale
    17. The Nurse
    18. The Statues
    19. The Policeman's Jig
    20. Brother Gorilla
    21. Family Tree
    22. The Grave Digger

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The Very Best Of Jake Thackray (2003)
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  • The Very Best Of Jake Thackray
    • 2003 – EMI 5 82651 2 CD

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  • Track List:
    1. The Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker
    2. The Lodger
    3. Go Little Swale
    4. The Ballad Of Billy Kershaw
    5. Lah–Di–Dah
    6. The Hair Of The Widow Of Bridlington
    7. It Was Only A Gypsy
    8. Sister Josephine
    9. Leopold Alcocks
    10. Old Molly Metcalfe
    11. On Again! On Again!
    12. North Country Song (Rain On The Mountainside)
    13. Bantam Cock
    14. Miss World
    15. To Do With You
    16. The Poor Sod
    17. I Stayed Off Work Today
    18. The Kiss
    19. The Brigadier
    20. Hole
    21. The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray

Sleeve Notes

Here is Jake Thackray, a singer-songwriter in the French tradition, a 'chansonnier' whose songs are nevertheless convincingly and idiosyncratically English. This is scarcely surprising. After graduating from Durham University, Jake spent four years in France as a teacher where the likes of Jaques Brel and his particular hero Georges Brassens made their indelible mark. The influence of their songs and story telling propelled Jake towards his own writing and singing style. But despite this Gallic background his songs are no mere copies; they are firmly and recognisably rooted in the English countryside, character and language. They are also painfully funny, sad, tragic, rude, irreverent, incisive and happy, and often enough all these things at the same time. In short, they are unique.

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By the mid sixties Jake was back in his native Yorkshire teaching at a school near Leeds where he found a way to get unruly pupils to take an interest was through his songs. This and performing in folk clubs led to appearances on local BBC programmes followed by national TV with regular slots on The Frost Report, The Braden Beat and That's Life. In nearly thirty years of performing he made over 1,000 radio and TV appearances ranging from a topical song in magazine programmes to broadcasts of live concerts on both radio and television. His EMI catalogue produced seven albums between 1967 and 1991.

Although Jake gave up teaching for show business he didn't really like being what he called "a performing dick". He was uncomfortable with big audiences and would settle for a pub or community hall in preference to the grandeur of the London Palladium (although he appeared there in a Royal Variety Performance). The barrier between stage and audience was unnatural to him and many a time you would find Jake in the bar after one of his gigs, supping and chatting away as though he too had simply come to see some chap with a guitar perform. He said he never really understood why people would pay good money to see him.

Modesty and shyness don't begin to explain the complexity of this self-deprecating man. Maybe a part of it was that he disliked the pomposity of showbiz, the falseness of its 'luvvies' and the trample of its commerciality. Here was a man who was honest with his audience and refused the charade of encores, preferring instead to tell them: "That was my last song and I'm going to do three more".

Audiences loved him for his fiercely intelligent lyrics, their satirical bite and his lugubrious style. Any hint of deceit or falseness in others provided the ammunition for his talent. The law and the judiciary are regular objects of derision in his songs, as are all those bigots, zealots and those self-important figureheads of authority.

The poetry of love is abundant in Jake's songs too, more often the absurdities of tricky situations peppered with lusty thoughts and youthful fears, or the unrequited dreams of those left on the shelf. The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker is the most improbable of love songs that, after you've stopped laughing, leaves you with a warm glow of satisfaction and a sense of Tightness. For nearly all the men and women who are the subject of these songs their love comes at a price, be it dreadful relatives, a jealous father, rampant mother, clumsy dog or some other terrible idiosyncrasy. In private life Jake was a devout Roman Catholic but this did not stop him puncturing the pomposity he found there or reflecting the smallest absurdities of religion through caricature — which nevertheless was wholly believable and funny.

Some might say he was irreverent and others believed his attitude to women was misogynistic but neither is true. Sister Josephine is such an implausible story yet its memorable lines suspend all disbelief and it remains one of his most popular songs. The Hair of the Widow of Bridlington details the triumph of a middle-aged woman's self-determination in spite of her chattering and disapproving neighbours, whilst On Again! On Again! not only identifies with the joys and shortcomings of the fairer sex, but gently mocks his religion too.

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Animals feature with real affection in songs about horses, dogs and, of course, the inimitable Bantam Cock who, through admirable cunning, thunders on to greater sexual prowess. Then there are songs which take you straight to the hardship and beauty of the Dales. Go Little Swale will instantly conjure up the breathtaking scenery of this part of Yorkshire whilst Old Molly Metcalfe brings home the bleakness of a sheepminder's short life up on the hills amongst the bracken, the wool from her sheep keeping the wealthy folk warm whilst she suffers. As with great poets, Jake Thackray's words are beautifully chosen and assembled with the skill of a real craftsman. They appeal to children and adults alike yet often for entirely different reasons. The humour is warm, familiar and easy to identify with, but sprinkled with a neat twist here or a little barb there, enough to make you think twice and smile again at their cleverness. Here was a man who knew how to use the English language, whose rhymes defied the rules yet worked perfectly. Accompanied by his distinct mellow-sounding guitar (strung with nylon, not steel) Jake would pluck out the tunes in a style somewhere between jazz and classical. Seeing him perform live you would wonder if he was able to keep up with the demands of the tune, but his music drives the song on with an occasional pause here or a complex chord sequence there to add to the mood and meaning.

Jake Thackray gave up performing in the 1990s and died on Christmas Eve 2002 at the age of 64. He left behind a collection of songs unsurpassed by any contemporary songwriter or poet, the songs of a craftsman whose lyrics, melodies and accompaniment are as relevant and appealing today as they ever were. He impressed and influenced many performers including Jasper Carrot, Mike Harding and Ralph McTell. He inspired countless other singers and artists who perform his work in clubs across the world. In fact, if Jake Thackray had been French he would surely have received the Legion d'Honneur and become a national treasure.

So do Jake the honour of listening to this CD in the way he would have wished: pull up a chair, sit down with a glass of something and imagine Jake right there in front of you, his jutting chin, his expressive face, one foot propped on a chair and enjoy him plucking his guitar and singing on all [21] tracks of "The Very Best Of Jake Thackray".

Quetin Howard

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Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976
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  • Jake In A Box: The EMI Recordings 1967-1976
    • 2006 – EMI 0946 357912 2 8 4xCD [Box Set]

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  • Disc One
    1. Lah-Di-Dah
    2. Country Bus
    3. The Cactus
    4. Scallywag
    5. The Black Swan
    6. Jumble Sale
    7. The Little Black Foal
    8. Personal Column
    9. Ulysses
    10. The Statues
    11. The Last Will And Testament Of Jake Thackray
    12. Remember Bethlehem (The Intake School Carol)
    13. Joseph
    14. La Di Da (Tra La La) (Thackray/Bergman)
    15. Le Cygne Noir
    16. Country Girl
    17. Family Tree
    18. Sophie
    19. Worried Brown Eyes
    20. On The Shelf
    21. Salvation Army Girl
    22. The Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker
  • Disc Two
    1. The Hole
    2. Caroline Diggeby-Pratte
    3. Grandad
    4. Mrs Murphy
    5. One Eyed Isaac
    6. The Nurse
    7. The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle
    8. Leopold Alcocks
    9. The Policeman's Jig
    10. The Shepherdess
    11. Pass Milord The Rooster Juice
    12. The Vicar's Missus
    13. The Ladies Basic Freedom Polka
    14. My Roly Poly Girl
    15. My Pipe My Boots And My Lord
    16. The Kirkstall Road Girl
    17. Freda
    18. The Lodger
    19. Bantam Cock
    20. Fine Bay Pony
    21. The Singer
    22. The Girl With The Fragile Eyes
    23. Go Little Swale,Jolly Captain
    24. Isabel Makes Love On National Monuments
  • Disc Three
    1. Brother Gorilla (Le Gorille) (Brassens/Thackray)
    2. The Girl In The Window
    3. It Was Only A Gypsy
    4. Old Molly Metcalfe
    5. Sister Josephine
    6. Lullaby
    7. Country Boy
    8. Country Boy (Single)
    9. The Prisoner
    10. On Again! On Again!
    11. To Do With You
    12. The Ballad Of Billy Kershaw
    13. The Rain On The Mountainside
    14. Isabella (Marinette) (Brassens/Thackray)
    15. I Stayed Off Work Today
    16. The Kiss
    17. The Poor Sod
    18. The Hair Of The Widow Of Bridlington
    19. Over To Isobel (Je Rejoindrai Ma Belle) (Brassens/Thackray)
    20. The Brigadier
    21. Joseph
    22. Famous People
    23. The Gravedigger
    24. Family Grave (Demo)
    25. Little Thomas Haverley
  • Disc Four
    1. The Little Black Foal
    2. Ulysses
    3. Scallywag
    4. Jumble Sale
    5. I've Been Left On The Shelf
    6. The Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker
    7. The Cactus
    8. Lah-Di-Dah
    9. Country Bus
    10. Family Tree
    11. The Statues
    12. The Last Will And Testament Of Jake Thackray
    13. Greasy Joan (One eyed Isaac)
    14. Dog
    15. Grandad
    16. Isabella (Brassens/Thackray)
    17. Salvation Army Girl
    18. Isobel
    19. Slowly Our Eyes
    20. Sophie
    21. The KG Girl (The Kirkstall Road Girl)
    22. The Nurse
    23. The Shepherdess
    24. Remember Bethlehem
    25. Joseph
    26. Le Cygne Noir (Hidden Bonus Track)

  • Musicians
    • Jake Thackray: Vocals, Guitar
    • Frank Clarke: Bass
    • Alan Williams: Bass
    • Dick Abell: Guitar
    • Ike Isaacs: Guitar
    • Frank Horrox: Piano
    • Geoff Love & His Orchestra
    • John McCarthy Chorus
    • Roger Webb
  • Credits
    • Mixing, Remastering: Peter Mew
    • Tape Transfer: Kathy Byrne
    • Research: Tim Chacksfield
    • Artwork: Paul Bevoir
    • Sleeve Notes: Victor Lewis–Smith
    • Producer (Original Recordings): Norman Newell
    • Engineer (Original Recordings): Peter Brown, Ron Hill, David Flower
  • Track Source:
    • CD One: Tracks 1-11 — Last Will and Testament, 1967.
    • CD One: Tracks 12-15 — 1967 Single Tracks.
    • CD One: Tracks 16-22 & CD Two: Tracks 1-7 — Jake's Progress, 1969.
    • CD Two: Tracks 8-18 — Previously unreleased tracks (1970).
    • CD Two: Tracks 19-25 & CD Three: Tracks 1-6 — Bantam Cock, 1972.
    • CD Three: Track 7 — 1972 Single.
    • CD Three: Track 8 — Previously unreleased (1972).
    • CD Three: Track 9 — Previously unreleased (year unknown).
    • CD Three: Tracks 10-21 — On Again On Again, 1976.
    • CD Three: Tracks 22-25 — Previously unreleased (year unknown).
    • CD Four: Tracks 1-12 — Last Will and Testament, 1967.
      • An unreleased acoustic version with a slightly different track listing from the original LP.
    • CD Four: Tracks 13-25 — Previously unreleased tracks (year unknown).

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