# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Jackie Leven - Great Songs From Eternal Bars

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Jackie Leven - Great Songs From Eternal Bars
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Format: CD


Former frontman of the early eighties rock band Doll By Doll, Scottish singer/guitarist Jackie Leven has developed into one of our greatest songwriters and storytellers. There are few artists who just

Former frontman of the early eighties rock band Doll By Doll, Scottish singer/guitarist Jackie Leven has developed into one of our greatest songwriters and storytellers. There are few artists who just keep getting better with each new album but this is exactly what Jackie does. His unique brand of Celtic soul mixes folk, rock and poetry and blends sweet melodies with biting but passionate lyrics. This four C.D. box set is an inexpensive introduction into his beautiful, compelling music. It comprises of ‘Fairy Tales For Hard Men’ from 1977, ‘Forbidden Songs Of The Dying West’ from 1995, ‘Control’, which was recorded in 1971 but not released until 1997, and the live album, ‘The Wanderer’. This is the first time that ‘The Wanderer’ has been available commercially. The album has only been available at Jackie’s gigs before now. It now includes a further three bonus tracks not included on the original release. The tracks are taken from all periods of Jackie’s career and are from various shows including some in Australia, Norway, Poland and Wales. Being such an accomplished storyteller in his songs, it comes as no surprise that the tales Jackie tells between songs at his gigs are as captivating as the actual songs. Live albums are generally only of interest for those who attended the concert that they were recorded at, but this is not so with this album. Jackie manages to convey his stage presence through the speakers so that the listener feels part of the concert. As some of Jackie’s songs could be described as being dark lyrically and musically the humour in his tales between songs lightens the mood a little. ‘Control’ is interesting, as Jackie’s vocals had not quite developed into the deep, warm, beautiful sounds that made his later albums such a joy to listen to. According to Jackie the album was made after an intense period of taking LSD, which he feels shows in the recordings. What does show is the maturing of a talent that would grow with each passing album. Jackie has led an eventful life and it would take a book to even just touch on the events in his life which have turned him into such a great storyteller. He has made some wrong choices along the way but these have made him into the interesting person he is today. How many artists even take the trouble to write their sleeve notes these days? Usually we get the long thank you list and not much else. Jackie’s sleeve notes are, however, compelling reading. If he ever wants a break from making music surely success as an author is guaranteed. Being steeped in mists, poetry and alcohol is how Jackie’s songs are often described and it is an apt description. The track ‘Working Alone / A Blessing’, from ‘Forbidden Songs of The Dying West’, for instance,begins as a typical Leven song about a man working alone in a field . It ends with Jackie reciting the poem ‘ A Blessing’ by James Wright, over music that he has composed. The strange thing is that it works. In other hands it could have been mawkish but Jackie carries it off beautifully. Rather than sounding like a poem tagged onto the end of a song it sounds like it belongs there and was written by James Wright for that reason. There are always surprises in Jackie’s songs. Half way through the acoustic ‘Fear Of Women’, found on ‘Fairy Tales For Hard Men’, the angelic vocals of Avril Jamieson start singing ‘Unchained Melody’ while what sounds like plates crashing in the background add a disturbing touch to the track. Then, suddenly, Jackie is back singing about walking through Glasgow in the freezing gloom before intoning “ Be suspicious” as the track ends. Very intriguing. There is not a better, or cheaper, introduction to the work of Jackie Leven than this box set but, if you are curious and take the plunge, beware, because although you will not regret it, you will end up purchasing the rest of this man’s excellent records.

Track Listing:-
1 Boy Trapped In A Man
2 Desolation Blues
3 Extremely Violent Man
4 Old West African Song
5 Saint Judas
6 Poortoun
7 Fear Of Woman
8 The Walled Coves Of Ravenscraig
9 Sad Polish Song
10 Sexual Danger
11 Jim O Windygates
12 Mad As The Mist And Snow
13 Kirkconnell Flow
14 Listening To Crows Pray
15 Sir Patrick Spens
16 Sunflower
17 Young Male Suicide Blessed By Invisible Woman
18 Some Ancient Misty Morning
19 Working Alone/A Blessing
20 Levens Lament
21 Marble City Bar
22 The Wanderer
23 Exultation
24 Men In Prison
25 Birds Leave Shadows
26 Stornoway Girl
27 Silver Roof
28 Lammermuir Hills
29 Come Back Early Or Never Come
30 By The Sign Of The Shattered Star
31 The Scene That Haunts My Memory
32 My Lord What A Morning
33 Soft Lowland Tongue
34 Raerona
35 Mansion Tension
36 Dog Star
37 Ruins
38 I'm Always A Prinlaws Boy
39 The Problem
40 Dune Voices
41 Sleeping In Bracken
42 Your Winter Days
43 Newfoundland Blues/Some Ancient Misty Morning/Working Alone/Sex Tourist
44 Heartsick Land
45 Stranger On The Square (etc)
46 The Keys To The Forest

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Interview (2011)
Singer-songwriter Jackie Leven speaks to Ben Howarth about his new album, 'Wayside Shrines and the Code of the Travelling Man', a collaboration with his regular keyboardist Michael Cosgrave, which was written in a set of German hotel rooms


1950-2011 (2011)
Ben Howarth and his brother Charles pay tribute to Scottish singer-songwriter Jackie Leven, who died in November

live reviews

Green Note, London 28/5/2008
Jackie Leven - Green Note, London  28/5/2008
At the tiny Green Cafe in London, Ben Howarth sees former Doll by Doll front man and still under-rated singer-songwriter Jackie Leven play an intimate, but typically charismatic set

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Shining Brother / Shining Sister (2003)
Eclectic 8th solo album from former Doll by Doll frontman, Jackie Leven, which finds him taking in elements of hip hop , waltz and poetry

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