It seemed that a new world was opening up for The Beatles when they started their own record company Apple Records. One of the key releases from that label in 1969 is Jackie Lomax's "Is This What You Want?" In the spirit of the times, like Leon Russell's first solo album, this is a record that had many big-named musicians playing along with Jackie, mostly due to its producer, George Harrison. Who is also listed as arranger and wrote "Sour Milk Sea" for his old Liverpool pal. Somewhere in the background, there's George, Paul, Ringo, Hal Blaine, Nicky Hopkins, Tony Newman, Klaus Voormann, Eric Clapton among others.
Still, it's very much a Lomax album, due to his songwriting and voice. He had a beautiful soulful voice, that's rich in quality and tailor-made for soul, but his work is very much crafted in the sense that it's a proper form of songwriting. "Speak To Me," the opening cut, is very much Lomax pleading to a lover, and the Harrison production kicks in with the female backup vocals and almost a Spector like intensity. The title song "Is This What You Want?" is my favorite piece here. A perfect marriage of melody and Lomax's voice, which builds as the song becomes more intense.
For an artist-run label, Apple was pretty good and had artists like Badfinger, James Taylor, Ronnie Spector, and of course Jackie Lomax. It's a shame (or not) that Harrison didn't produce more artists. His work with others I think are some of the strongest aspects of his talent. Lomax's album is a very solid work. The famous names help, but in actuality, it's Jackie's presence that makes this album essential.