Title - 'Lesley Step Lightly: The GM Recordings'
Artist - Lesley Duncan
For those not in the know, Lesley Duncan was an English singer-songwriter, best known for her work during the 1970s.
She received a lot of airplay on British radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2; but never achieved great commercial success; in part because of her unwillingness to chase stardom, and crippling stage fright.
Lesley Steps Lightly is a brand new anthology of Lesley’s period with the (Billy) Gaff Management set up (managers of The Faces, Status Quo, Rory Gallagher, Greenslade at the time), releasing recordings on their GM label.
Indeed, to Lesley’s name were 3 LPs and 7 singles, all included here, from 1974-1978.
The three albums included are Everything Changes (Disc One), Moon Bathing (Disc Two), and Maybe It's Lost (Disc Three).
CD 1 - Everything Changes (1974)
1. My Soul'
2. Broken Old Doll'
3. The Serf'
4. Hold On'
5. Everything Changes'
6. Love Melts Away'
9. Watch the Tears'
10. We'll Get By'
11. My Soul (Live)' - Bonus Track
12. Sam (Live)' - Bonus Track
13. Fortieth Floor (Live)' - Bonus Track
14. Love Song (Live)' - Bonus Track
15. The Serf (Live)' - Bonus Track
16. Earth Mother (Live)' - Bonus Track
17. Sing Children Sing (Live)' - Bonus Track
CD 2 - Moon Bathing (1975)
1. I Can See Where I'm Going'
2. Heaven Knows'
3. Moon Bathing'
4. Rescue Me'
5. Lady Step Lightly'
6. Wooden Spoon'
7. Pick Up the Phone'
9. Fine Friends'
10. Jumped Right in the River'
11. Rocking Chair'
12. Could've Been a Winner' - Bonus Track
13. Earth Mother (Live at Reading Festival)' - Bonus Track
CD 3 - Maybe It's Lost (1977)
1. The Sky on Fire'
2. Maybe It's Lost'
3. Slipping Sideways'
4. Living It All Again'
5. Another Rainy Day'
6. Ride on the Wind'
7. Let It Roll'
8. Walk in the Sea'
9. Falling Like a Leaf'
10. Don't Worry 'Bout It'
11. Drift Away'
12. The Magic's Fine' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
13. Paper Highways' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
14. Sing Children Sing (Charity Group Version)' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
15. Rainbow Games' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
16. Don't Cry Anita' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
17. The Wrong Woman' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
18. Walking Out Into a Bad Dream' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
19. Yesterday (Was It Too Late)' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
20. You're a Sly One' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
21. Masters of War' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
22. Another Light Goes Out' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
With ninety per cent of the tracks written by Lesley these songs are very largely chronicles of relationships both happy and troubled; most, but not all of them, about Lesley's own with some songs notably being about friends rather than herself.
Everything about the debut album, Everything Changes is of the highest quality (much like all her material, to be quite honest). The songwriting, her vocals, the musicianship, the overall production and mastering are of a very high standard and each track is a pure unadulterated gem to behold.
The additional material on Disc One is the 1974 BBC In Concert recording made at the Golders Green Hippodrome.
Listening to the second album, Moon Bathing and I harken back to a 1987 story I read on her that claimed Duncan blamed herself for her music not having become as far reaching as everyone around her had always hoped.
She said that being a backup session musician was easy money for all she had to do was simply write and sing and only when she felt like it. She added that she always had it in the back of her mind to make records but added she never wanted to promote them.
Indeed she was happy with her quiet life, home and child. She also said she was treated very well as a back up and felt it would be unfair to have a record label invest in her, when she probably wouldn't do much, if anything, to promote an album they had made her write/sing.
Disc Two has an extra b-side plus the live cut of one of Lesley's big song's 'Earth Mother' recorded live in 1973 at the Reading Festival.
The third album was also a doozy in the form of 'Maybe It's Lost.' Her voice, her style, all is wonderful. The instruments are at the same level with her own backing musicians on song with the way Duncan could only have hoped for.
And Disc Three goes beyond the GM years and rounds up unreleased songs recorded with her second husband arranger/producer Tony Cox during the early 1980s; her final mainstream single in 1982 an acerbic delivery of Dylan's 'Masters Of War', and the 1979 live aid style charity single cover of Lesley's song 'Sing Children Sing' with Pete Townshend, Madeline Bell, Kate Bush, Joe and Vicki Brown, Billy Nicholls and Phil Lynott.
A major 20 page essay details Lesley’s whole career and importantly offers fascinating context material with input from Jimmy Horowitz , Linda Lewis, Madeline Bell, Tony Hazzard, Kiki Dee, Jeff Dexter and Tony Cox.
The great Lesley Duncan is sadly no longer with us, but at least we can still enjoy her superb voice and songwriting talent here on this 3CD box-set.
Official 3CD Digipak Purchase Link