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Big Blue Diamond

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Album Review

Jacky Ward's Fools Fall in Love/Big Blue Diamond is a late example of the cumbersome 1960s practice of naming an album after two of its songs. It was Ward's first album for Mercury, even though he had been making minor hits for the label since 1975. Instead of having Ward record an album's worth of new material, Mercury rounded up his hits from the previous couple of years and packaged them together. Consequently, Fools Fall in Love/Big Blue Diamond has every one of Ward's first six Mercury hits, plus a remake of "Big Blue Diamond," a '50s-era song that was a hit for Ward on the Target label in 1972. Ward's style — soaring country-pop with strings — sounds quite a bit like Charlie Rich, and the piano intro on "Dance Her by Me (One More Time)" is strongly reminiscent of Rich's "Behind Closed Doors." "Fools Fall in Love," another '50s-era song (this one written by Leiber and Stoller for the Drifters), was Ward's first Top Ten hit, and set the pattern for what would be his biggest hit the following year, a cover of Clyde McPhatter's "A Lover's Question." Aside from the oldies remakes, the album is practically a showcase for the songs of Jerry Foster and Bill Rice, since they wrote half of it, and the quality — probably because so many of the cuts had been earmarked as single A-sides — is very high. Fools Fall in Love/Big Blue Diamond is the strongest Jacky Ward album available, short of a greatest-hits package.

Big Blue Diamond, Jacky Ward
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