• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Susan Jacks - Some Sad News

Harry

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I've extolled about the talents of Susan Jacks (Pesklevits) and The Poppy Family here before, but I can't seem to get any agreements or even acknowledgements. Oh well. Now she's gone, but The Poppy Family's music - a couple of albums - still live on, but just barely. Most of the two album's tracks are available on a compilation CD, A GOOD THING LOST. Personally, I've been lucky enough to have both of their albums, US versions.

We all hear things differently, but I hear an awful lot of Karen Carpenter in Susan Jacks' vocals. Your mileage may vary. This is probably their biggest hit which was kept from Number One by the breakup of The Beatles and the sentimentality of "The Long And Winding Road". The song is also dismissed today because of confusion with another (awful) "Billy" song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero."

"Which Way You Goin', Billy?"

And finally, through a quirk of fate, THE POPPY FAMILY'S GREATEST HITS album of the late 80s, turned out to be on the A&M label (A&M Records Of Canada).

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R.I.P. Susan Jacks
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I've extolled about the talents of Susan Jacks (Pesklevits) and The Poppy Family here before, but I can't seem to get any agreements or even acknowledgements. Oh well. Now she's gone, but The Poppy Family's music - a couple of albums - still live on, but just barely. Most of the two album's tracks are available on a compilation CD, A GOOD THING LOST. Personally, I've been lucky enough to have both of their albums, US versions.

We all hear things differently, but I hear an awful lot of Karen Carpenter in Susan Jacks' vocals. Your mileage may vary. This is probably their biggest hit which was kept from Number One by the breakup of The Beatles and the sentimentality of "The Long And Winding Road". The song is also dismissed today because of confusion with another (awful) "Billy" song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero."

"Which Way You Goin', Billy?"

And finally, through a quirk of fate, THE POPPY FAMILY'S GREATEST HITS album of the late 80s, turned out to be on the A&M label (A&M Records Of Canada).

View attachment 7599
View attachment 7600

R.I.P. Susan Jacks
While I have many, many songs from the 60s in my brain, I am not very familiar with ‘Which Way You Going, Billy’, although I began to become vey aware of hits on the radio around 1970. I do remember that my much older cousin, who had left his parents’ house before I started having holidays there, owned this record and had left it behind amongst a stack of 45s. I used to listen to most of his 45s, but not this one.

However, like everyone else, I became very familiar with Terry Jacks’ ‘Seasons In the Sun’ when it went to Number One all over the world.

By the way, as far as reminding me of others, personally, I think Susan Jacks sounds like Agnetha Faltskog in the first few words of each chorus on ‘Which Way You Going, Billy?’ (I just listened to it on YouTube).

Sometimes it seems a challenge to accept that our heroes and heroines gradually disappear. It’s a strange life.
 
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Murray

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The Poppy Family was a staple on Canadian radio in the early 70s. I've always enjoyed Susan's vocals, and like Harry, I've noticed the similarities to Karen. I would have loved to have heard a duet between the two of them, as I imagine that their voices would have blended beautifully. R.I.P. Susan.

BTW, I wonder why "Where Evil Grows" wasn't included on the Greatest Hits album that Harry showed above. It's one of my favourite Poppy Family recordings, and made it to #6 in Canada:

 

Harry

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If I'm reading things right, "Where Evil Grows" was a single with a b-side of "I Was Wondering" and the US radio DJs flipped it over. I recall hearing the b-side.
 

Geographer

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I've extolled about the talents of Susan Jacks (Pesklevits) and The Poppy Family here before, but I can't seem to get any agreements or even acknowledgements. Oh well. Now she's gone, but The Poppy Family's music - a couple of albums - still live on, but just barely. Most of the two album's tracks are available on a compilation CD, A GOOD THING LOST. Personally, I've been lucky enough to have both of their albums, US versions.

We all hear things differently, but I hear an awful lot of Karen Carpenter in Susan Jacks' vocals. Your mileage may vary. This is probably their biggest hit which was kept from Number One by the breakup of The Beatles and the sentimentality of "The Long And Winding Road". The song is also dismissed today because of confusion with another (awful) "Billy" song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero."

"Which Way You Goin', Billy?"

And finally, through a quirk of fate, THE POPPY FAMILY'S GREATEST HITS album of the late 80s, turned out to be on the A&M label (A&M Records Of Canada).

View attachment 7599
View attachment 7600

R.I.P. Susan Jacks
Actually, I like this song (Which Way You Goin' BIlly) a lot and am happy to hear it played often on Sirius XM! I completely understand the "similarities" to Karen's voice. She has (had) a nice emotive tonality to her voice.
 

byline

Well-Known Member
I've extolled about the talents of Susan Jacks (Pesklevits) and The Poppy Family here before, but I can't seem to get any agreements or even acknowledgements. Oh well. Now she's gone, but The Poppy Family's music - a couple of albums - still live on, but just barely. Most of the two album's tracks are available on a compilation CD, A GOOD THING LOST. Personally, I've been lucky enough to have both of their albums, US versions.

We all hear things differently, but I hear an awful lot of Karen Carpenter in Susan Jacks' vocals. Your mileage may vary. This is probably their biggest hit which was kept from Number One by the breakup of The Beatles and the sentimentality of "The Long And Winding Road". The song is also dismissed today because of confusion with another (awful) "Billy" song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero."
Gosh, I'd forgotten all about "Which Way You Goin', Billy?" till I watched the video you linked. I hear a slight similarity between Susan's and Karen's voices, but mainly I hear what Another Son pointed out, more of an Abba connection. Such a lovely voice, and the song brings back memories of that time. Thank you for sharing it!
 
So sorry to hear of her passing. I loved her voice. I have the first album Which Way You Going Billy. I also have CD "A Good Thing Lost". I also have two singles that she made for Mercury records "You're A Part Of Me" and "Never Let Him Go" backed with "Nothing Good Comes Easy." I thought both songs should have been hits, but I don't think they were. And then later I found an album called "Ghost". I think it was on Epic records. What a great album that is! I listen to it often. And recently I found the Mercury album "Dreams" on itunes. I didn't know anything about it when it originally came out or I would have bought it then, Excellent singer. Tragic lost!
 

Harry

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This is a favorite of mine that didn't appear to be on YouTube, so I just added it:

 

Don Malcolm

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An appreciation and historical analysis of Susan and The Poppy Family from last year, with some interesting (and occasionally a bit strange!) footage of Susan and Terry on Canadian TV just prior to when they officially joined forces--and a video featuring "You Took My Moonlight Away," a song that features some of Susan's most adventurous vocals. I must confess that Terry has never (well, hardly ever...) been my cup of tea, but Susan had a lovely voice and might have given us something closer to the caliber of the Carpenters if she'd been working with a more creative producer/arranger.
 
I wasn't sure if I had the second Poppy Family album, but seeing the cover...I know I bought it. Hopefully I still have it somewhere. If so, I record it on to a CD.
 

Harry

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Back in 2016, I was excited to find a listing on Amazon for a combined CD of both albums. Without investigating, I ordered it and it turned out to be a counterfeit needledrop of both albums. It's no longer sold by Amazon, but if you spot it elsewhere, unless you're desperate for these recordings, I'd avoid it.

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It's got that oval thingy at the bottom.
 
Thanks. I saw they had 2 used copies, but I skipped over it. I did order a CD of her 4 solo albums. I already had two of them. One as vinyl and the other as MP3.
 

rockdoctor

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In this area, Which Way You Goin' Billy got a lot of airplay and then their second single was released but it did not get anywhere near the amount of airplay of "Billy" and disappeared quickly. Harry is right about Billy, Don't Be a Hero. I never liked that one.
 
Well, I confess that I did like "Billy, Don't Be A Hero". I even liked some of the other songs by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.
 

Harry

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Hey, it was a big record, so a lot of people must have liked it.
 

Harry

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I like "That's Where I Went Wrong" a lot, but somehow threads like this go toward the unusual. This was a fairly big hit and has a few different versions. The single posted above is the US version in mono. There's a US version in stereo too on the London album:

 

jaredjohnfisher

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I always liked her voice! "Billy" was a popular song on the radio in my world. I'm only now learning of her passing (courtesy of this thread)! I usually learn of these things from Facebook News, etc., but sadly, there was no mention of it--or at least nothing that caught my eye. RIP.
 
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