The Poppy Family

Poppy Seeds

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Susan Jacks' voice became highly recognizable when "Which Way You Goin' Billy" climbed the charts in 1970, and her husband hit number one in 1974 after they divorced with a remake of a song once performed by the Kingston Trio, "Seasons in the Sun." Poppy Seeds from the Poppy Family is an album of lightweight pop music from happier times, and has its moments. Of the 12 tunes here, half are written by Terry Jacks, and though the outside material consists of outstanding choices, this album's best moments are when Susan Jacks interprets husband/producer Terry's compositions. "I'll See You There" is interesting pop, somewhat innovative for the day, and if the group hadn't been known for the 1970 hit which was borderline bubblegum, "I'll See You There" would've been a candidate for FM airplay. "I Was Wondering" is a very strong Terry Jacks ballad and "Tryin'" is perhaps the best performance on the album, Susan Jacks showing herself to be very comfortable with country music. Where the project falls short is that the cover songs don't have the same production and heart found on Terry's originals. Merle Haggard's "I Started Loving You Again" could be so much more, but isn't. Bob Lind's obscure "Remember the Rain" from his Photographs of Feeling album never came close to duplicating the success of "Elusive Butterfly," but it is a good tune, and the Jacks kind of walk through it, ignoring the sparkle Jack Nitzsche sprinkled all over the Lind version. The biggest disappointment on the album, though, is its best selection -- the underrated and immaculate song "No Good to Cry" by Al Anderson of N.R.B.Q. when he was recording with the Wildweeds. Susan Jacks just doesn't have that blue-eyed soul that put the original "No Good to Cry" over the top. The production is not as intense, and what could have brought this group to another level becomes a Holiday Inn band reworking a masterpiece. The manic piano that made the minor hit so legendary is lost here, the dynamics nonexistent. It almost feels like Terry Jacks put more into his originals, surrounding them with decent versions of songs by Sonny Curtis, Joe Fahrni, and the aforementioned titles. There's no denying the Poppy Family knew how to pick potential hits, but they dropped the ball on the five-yard line on Poppy Seeds.

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