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Millie Jackson - Live & Uncensored

Millie Jackson - Live & Uncensored

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Title:  Live & Uncensored
Company: Spring
Catalog: SP-2-6725
Country/State: Thomson, Georgia
Year: 1979
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve; minor ring and edge wear

Millie Jackson's always been an acquired taste for my ears. Mind you, I don't question the woman's talent, or her integrity - in the game of love and happiness she frequently tells it like it is, but her reliance on the raunchy factor tends to go to an extreme, merely detracting from other obvious musical talents. True, today Jackson's use of dirty words sounds almost quaint, but that in a nutshell is my main problem with the 1979 double album live set "Live & Uncensored". Call me a prude, but hearing a steady string of obscenities quickly grew stale and boring ... Recorded at L.A.'s The Roxy, the collection found Jackson backed by a strong band (billed as The Easy-Ak-Shun-Band and The East Coast Horns). Unfortunately, by the time this one was released, Jackson's voice was beginning to show some wear and tear. Rough and ragged, she could still carry a tune and inject considerable passion and anger into the subject matter (check out 'Just When I Needed You Most'), but far too often she fell back on extended monologs that while occasionally funny, more often were just tasteless and vulgar ('Phuck You Symphony'). And what was with the 'flying bat' leather outfit she was modeling on the cover ?

- The first half of 'Keep the Home Fire Burnin'' was one of the better performances with Jackson sticking close to the song while avoiding the vamping. Unfortunately it didn't last, with the second half of the song consisting of an extended Jackson monolog (lots of talk about 'outside fires') that was at best only mildly funny. rating: *** stars
- 'Logs and Thangs' was essentially nothing more than an off-colored rap. Forgettable. rating: ** stars
- 'Put Something Down On It' was a great song with a catchy and memorable melody, but the minute she went into the vamp segment it hit a brick wall. rating: *** stars
- The less said about her cover of Rod Stewart's 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy' the better. The original was one of the 1970's biggest musical travesties and Jackson's cover did nothing to redeem the song's reputation, though hearing her admit "this godamn disco sh*t will kill an old bitch like me" was actually one of the album's truly funny moments. rating: ** stars
- The first section of the album ended with a brief reprise of 'Put Something Down On It'. rating: ** stars
- Yeah, there was another mindless mid-song monolog, but for the most part 'Just When I Needed You Most' was a straightforward performance that showcased how good Jackson could be when she played it straight. Easily the best performance on side one and if you ever heard Randy VanWarmer's dreadful singer/songwriter version of the tune ... well .Jackson simply kicked the crap out of his version. rating: **** stars
- Clearly intended to be funny, 'Phuck You Symphony' set a semi-classical arrangement to seemingly endless repetitions of the title phrase. It was sophomoric and unless you were a 14 year old boy its doubtful you'd find anything enjoyable, or even remotely funny on this one. Bet The Pointer Sisters were thrilled to have been singled out for recognition on this one. rating: ** stars
- Side three's 'What Am I Waiting For' was my favorite performance. Probably the best soul song on the album, Jackson seemed to have a real feel for this one and aptly demonstrated that she was a first class soul singer. I didn't even mind the rapping segment. rating: **** stars
- 'I Still Love You (You Still Love Me)' was interesting for showing a restrained Millie Jackson (take that description with a grain of salt) ... It was also interesting to hear how good her voice really was when she dropped some of the 'don't mess with me' attitude that characterized so much of her stage act. Great call and response with the female backing singers. rating: **** stars
- Jackson getting down and dirty ... 'All the Way Lover' was a surprisingly enjoyable track with Jackson actually sounding a bit like a tougher Gladys Knight. rating: *** stars
- I've never watched soap operas so most of 'The Soaps' was wasted on me ... Basically this one was just an extended vamp. rating: ** stars
- And the 'All the Way Lover (Reprise)' turned out to be her funkiest and raunchiest offering ... you wouldn't want to play this one with your mother in the room. rating: *** stars
- A Toto song? Well I never liked the original version of 'Hold the Line' and Jackson's cover did nothing to improve the original. rating: ** stars
- Hum, Millie Jackson as philosopher ... A spoken word monolog on the subject of revenge, what's the old saying? "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned .." rating: **
- I'll readily admit I had low expectations for her cover of The Delfonics 'Didn't I Blow Your Mind'. To be honest, it turned out to be one of the album's best performances. Jackson toughed up the song giving it an edge songwriters Thom Bell and William Hart probably never imagined. rating: **** stars
- AN extended call and response with the audience, 'Give it Up' had the album's best refrain ... hearing the audience singing 'give it up, give it up, goddam ...' was actually kind of funny, as was hearing Jackson checking out audience derrieres. rating: *** stars
- Dropping the 'bitch' persona, her cover of George Jackson's 'A Moment's Pleasure' was another album highlight. rating: **** stars
- 'If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right)' was another atypical performance where Jackson stuck to the script through most of the song and the results spoke for themselves. One of the album's standout performances ... rating: **** stars
- 'The Rap' was mildly funny as a tutorial for the rules for conducting extramarital relationships. rating; ** stars
- Extremely short, ''If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right)' (reprise) was over in less than a minute. rating; ** stars
- Complete with irritating syndrums, 'Never Change Lovers In the Middle of the Night' found Jackson taking a stab at disco. Though it was one of the few tracks without a spoken word segment, I can't say it did a great deal for me. rating; ** stars
- Hum, a dull, overly sentimental Kenny Rogers song with a long, seemingly endless opening monolog ... Yeah, 'Sweet Music Man' was dull, though chances are you'd quit paying attention long before the song actually started. Damn, never thought I'd have anything nice to say about a Kenny Rogers song, but at least his version was shorter than this mess. rating; ** stars
- Stuffed in the middle of the extended 'Sweet Music Man' suite, Jackson's brief stab at 'It Hurts So Good' was actually a nice respite. Shame she didn't spend more time on that song at the expense of the Kenny Rogers song. rating; *** stars
- Geez, the album ended with more 'Sweet Music Man' zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz .... rating; ** stars

Nowhere near the best release in her career, but if you want a taste of her live act, I guess it was a pretty good representation.

"Live and Uncensored" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Keep the Home Fire Burnin' (Benny Lattimore - Steve Alaimo) - 3:28
2.) Logs and Thangs (Millie Jackson - Benny Lattimore) - 5:15
3.) Put Something Down On It (Bobby Womack - C. Womack) - 3:17
4.) Da Ya Think I'm Sexy (Rod Stewart - Carmen Appice) - 1:02
5.) Put Something Down On It (Reprise) (Bobby Womack - C. Womack)
6.) Just When I Needed You Most (Randy Van Warmer) - 4:27
7.) Phuck You Symphony (Millie Jackson - R. Klein) - 5:27

(side 2)
1.) What Am I Waiting For (R. Tyson - Bunny Sigler) - 4:48
2.) I Still Love You (You Still Love Me) (B. Davis - M. James) - 6:23
3.) All the Way Lover (Benny Lattimore) - 3:11
4.) The Soaps (Millie Jackson) - 9:05
5.) All the Way Lover (Reprise) (Benny Lattimore) - 1:02

(side 3)
1.) Hold the Line (David Paich) - 3:59
2.) Be a Sweetheart (Millie Jackson - Brad Shapiro) - 2:52
3.) Didn't I Blow Your Mind (Thom Bell - William Hart) - 4:03
4.) Give it Up (Millie Jackson - Brad Shapiro) - 6:20
5.) A Moment's Pleasure (George Jackson) - 5:19

(side 4)
1.) If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right) (Homer Banks - R. Jackson - C. Hampton) - 3:35
2.) The Rap (Millie Jackson) - 5:24
3.) If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right) (Reprise) (Homer Banks - R. Jackson - C. Hampton)
4.) Never Change Lovers In the Middle of the Night (L. Forsey - F. Jay - M. Bjorklund) - 3:40
5.) Sweet Music Man (Kenny Rogers) - 9:39
6.) It Hurts So Good (P. Mitchell) - 0:51
7.) Sweet Music Man (Reprise) (Kenny Rogers) - 1:12
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