Recording information: Criteria Studios, Miami, FL; Malaco Sound Studios; Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Sheffield, AL; Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, PA.
Born and raised in Florida, soul chanteuse Jackie Moore pulled up stakes and made her way to Philadelphia to launch a career in music when she was just 18 years old. Moore was certain that big things were going to happen on the Philly soul scene, and she was right, but by the time she finally connected with producers and a label that knew what to do with her tough but soaring vocal style, they ended up sending her back to Florida, where she cut her first and biggest hit, "Precious, Precious," at Miami's Criteria Studios. Sounding a bit like Aretha Franklin but with a more defiantly Southern edge and an understated but powerful dramatic flair, Moore recorded plenty of memorable sides for Atlantic during her five-year run with the label, but some of her best work for the legendary soul imprint never saw release, and 1973's "Sweet Charlie Babe" was the last time Moore broke into the Hot 100 singles chart (though she fared well on the Dance charts during the disco era). Real Gone has finally given soul fans and Jackie Moore collectors a chance to hear the singer's previously lost Atlantic sessions on the two-disc set The Complete Atlantic Recordings, which features 14 previously unreleased tracks along with two tunes that received a belated release on soul rarities collections, and another 14 that either popped up on singles or her sole Atlantic LP, Sweet Charlie Babe. The churchy fervor of Moore's voice shines bright on nearly every track here, and the production (most either from her cousin Dave Crawford or the Philly studio team the Young Professionals) generally works to her advantage. And while "Precious, Precious," "Sometimes It's Got to Rain (In Your Love Life)," and "Sweet Charlie Babe" were R&B hits for all the right reasons, "If This Was the Last Song," "Tell Me a Lie," and "Set Me Free" show that Atlantic's A&R staff didn't truly know what they had, as they and several other unheard tracks on this set sound like potential classics that got away. Despite her only-intermittent success on the charts, Jackie Moore clearly had the talent to be a major star, and The Complete Atlantic Recordings finally gives this underrated diva her due. ~ Mark Deming