Jackie & Roy

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1946-83)

- Jackie Cain (RIP 2014) -- vocals

- Roy Kral (RIP 2002) -- vocals, piano


  supporting musicians: (1969)

- Ray DeSio -- trombone 

- Jimmy Molinary -- drums, percussion

- Andy Muson -- bass 

- Stuart Scharf -- guitar 

- Artie Schroeck -- guitar, sax

- George Young -- baritone sax




- Charlie Ventura (Roy Kral)

- The Roy Kral - Jackie Cain Septet





Genre: pop-psych

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Electric Jackie & Roy / Grass

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST 2936

Country/State: New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $25.00


I bought this one based on the timepiece cover photo - I'm a sucker for that summer of love '60s vibe and this album has in spades.  (Yes I know the LP was released in 1968.)


Good luck finding an in-depth review of this one.  Speculation on my part, but part of the issue may stem from the fact  Jackie Cain and husband Roy Kral were better known in the world of jazz than pop, or rock.  The fact their recording catalog is so large; some 40 albums over a 40 year timeframe, also leaves them as too large a target to get a handle on.


Like so many other acts, starting with 1967's "Lovesick" (Verve catalog number V6-8688) and 1968's "Changes" (Verve catalog V-8668)  found Cain and Kral making an effort to modernize their sound.  Those efforts accelerated when the duo signed with Capitol.  Co-produced by Jack Lewis and Monte Lewis, 1969's "Grass" (wonder what Capitol's marketing arm thought of the title), was easily the most commercial and mainstream album the pair ever recorded.  Take those comments with a grain of salt since throughout these eleven tracks the pair remained firmly entrenched in the jazz realm.  With backing from guitarist Artie Schroeck and a horn section, the eleven tracks offered up a mixture of contemporary covers (Beatles, Bee Gees, Donovan and Paul Simon), outside material (three tracks by the late poet Fran Landesman) and one Kral original ('Stay With Me Forever, Stay With Me Now').  Cain had a nice voice and the pair's voice blended nicely on tracks like the original ballad 'Stay With Me Forever, Stay With Me Now' their cover of the Fab Four's 'Fixin' Hole' and the stellar 'Winds of Heaven' (released as a single, the latter was easily the album's standout performance.  Still, in spite of the attempt to cultivate a "hip" image, Jackie and Roy were not particularly hip, or happening.  You weren't going to hear them at The Electric Circus, or The Fillmore East, rather at a small, intimate jazz club.  That's the perfect way to describe their sound.  It's enjoyable in a laidback, jazzy fashion but don't buy this thinking you were going to hear a psychedelic masterpiece.


"Grass" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Open (Fran Landesman - Lee Pockriss) - 3:50 rating: *** stars

Showcasing Cain's breezy, multi-tracked voice, 'Open' offered up an odd, but engaging mixture of jazz, pop and light-psych touches.  Turning in a tour-de-force, the secret sauce on this one was drummer Jimmy Molinary.  His playing was jazzy, but about halfway through the tune he shifted into high gear showing he would have been a bonus to any rock band.  The mid-section instrumental section was awesome.

2.) Stay With Me Forever, Stay With Me Now (Roy Kral) - 3:50 rating: ** stars

The album's lone original tune, 'Stay With Me Forever, Stay With Me Now' featured a Cain-Kral duet. Their voices blend well and it was a pretty ballad, but with a very supper club arrangement, just didn;t generated much excitement.  You also got a taste of Kral's electric keyboard work

3.) Holiday (Barry Gibb - Robin Gibb) - 3:32 rating: *** stars 

I'm not a big fan of The Bee Gees' sappy original.  That made Cain and Kral's arrangement a total surprise.  Yeah, the "start and stop" arrangement was bizarre, but the opening and rocking sections were pretty wild.  One of the most interesting Bee Gees covers I've ever come across.

4.) Most Peculiar Man (Paul Simon) - 3:32  rating: ** stars

Interesting choice for a cover since Simon's 'Most Particular Man' isn't particularly well known - I think it was included on Simon's 1965 UK debut album "The Paul Simon Songbook".  Opening up with some discordant Kral keyboard and Molinary percussion, Cain framed this one as sort of a Broadway show performance.  Easy to picture Liza Minnelli, or Barbara Streisand doing a cover of it.  Be warned this wasn't the tune you wanted to play to get the party started.

5.) Fixin' Hole (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 5:30   rating: *** stars

The first of two Beatles covers, their horn-powered arrangement kept the underlying melody, but slowed it way down, slapping a jazzy sheen on the arrangement.  In spite of the freak-out closing section, you won't forget the original.



(side 2)
Winds of Heaven (Bob Dorough - Fran Landesman) - 3:15 rating: **** stars

Most folks are going to know this song from The 5th Dimension "Aquarius" album.  Similarly folks would give the nod to Marilyn McCoo and company's version.  I'll play Devil's advocate and tell you 

the Jackie and Roy version is the better of the two.  The album's most commercial offering, their arrangement showcased the pair's gorgeous, interlocked harmonies on a melody that offered up a great mixture of pop and jazz moves.  Shame it wasn't a hit when Capitol tapped it as a single:






- 1968's 'Winds of Heaven' b/w 'Lady Madonna' (Capitol catalog number 2229)







2.) Someone Singing (Donovan Leitch) - 2:15  rating: *** stars

From a technical standpoint the ballad 'Someone Singing' served as a nice showcase for the pair's intertwined vocals - it was almost like a medieval carol.

3.) What Do I Feel (Tom Wolf - Fran Landesman) - 2:20  rating: *** stars

Powered by Kral electric keyboard and the horns, 'What Do I Feel' showcased Jackie's bright voice and was another pop-oriented performance.  

4.) Deus Brasileiro (Marcus Valle - P. Valle - R. Gilbert) - 3:10   rating: ** stars

I don't speak Portuguese, but I think the title translates roughly as "God Is Brazilian."   An upbeat samba-flavored tune this one featured the pair scatting their way through the tune.  Should appeal to Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66  fans out there.

5.) Without Rhyme or Reason (Terry Thomas) - 2:47  rating: *** stars

A pretty, keyboard powered ballad, 'Without Rhyme or Reason' was a perfect tune to play at an intimate jazz club.  Jackie certainly did have a pretty voice.

6.) Lady Madonna (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 4:10   rating: ** stars

Hum, slowing this one down to a crawl didn't do the song any favors.  The original melody was buried in there somewhere, but  their "downer" vocals and Artie Schroeck's distant guitar (it sounded like he was recording in a shower stall down the hall), 'Lady Madonna' easily made for the strangest arrangement on the album.  And the the amphetamines kicked in ...  The track served as the "B" side on their 'Winds of Change' 45.