Back when I was a mere age of 4, maybe 5, Christmas came as it often does every year. At one time there was this thing called Nick at Night where they actually showed old shows from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Keeping with its then tradition, they showed the older variety show’s Christmas specials.
For some reason or another, my parents decided to record The Judy Garland Christmas Special. I’ve watched it nearly every year since. I’m not particularly sure why they recorded it, neither one of them are huge Garland fans, but young me was already regressing in age taking a liking to the music of yesterday. Beside the fact that this Christmas show boasted the talents of Judy Garland and a young Liza Minnelli, Jack Jones guest starred to sing his then hit “Lollipops and Roses” and a melody of Christmas hits with both Garland and Minnelli.
If that is what it took to sing with the likes of Judy and Liza, I had to become that. I had to be just like Jack Jones.
Well I’m a lot older now, never grew past 5’6′, and always seem to carry a few extra pounds on me. I’ve been singing here and there, but it’s clear my goal of becoming Jack Jones never came true. Nonetheless, he has been a role model for my singing and performing.
I acquired his second album and what I believe to be his first record for Kapp records, Lollipops and Roses. Jones released the title track when he was 24. This album was Jones introducing himself to the world of music and it was happy to have him.
This album opens with “This Was My Love.” A ballad that proved his voice was as strong as a stone, but as soft as velvet. He goes on to sing his Grammy winning “Lollipops and Roses” and a flowing, yet capitvating, rendition of “Moonlight Becomes You.”
Flip the album, and you find songs of equal proportion. He gives one of the best performances of “Love Letters” and a haunting version of “Julie.” My personal favorite from this side is “The Girl Next Door,” a cover of Judy Garland’s “The Boy Next Door” from the musical Meet Me in St. Louis.
On his first album, he was already singing songs by the best artists of all-time, as well as singing songs that would someday be sung by equally legendary artists in their time. This proves Jones’ legacy and cements his name in the history of music.
Jones still sings to sold out crowds around the globe. I recently went to his website to inquire about getting my album signed. That evening I received an email saying that he would be more then happy and to what address I should send it. It was barely a week after I sent it, that I received it back in the mail along with some of his new CD’s. I was flabergasted at the gesture and the CD’s further prove that this legend is far from over. Receiving this pacakge from Jones and his wife was one of the highlights of my collecting and musical adventure.
So as I sit and just listen to this classic album that first brought Jones into the spotlight, I am reminded of a ribbon. A ribbon that flows gently in the wind with a gust every now and then, but always consistent. One can always count on Jones for a keen deliverance of song, keeping every note in place, yet never ignoring a single emotion. I only hope to sing like that.
Man, now I really want to be Jack Jones. Think he gives lessons?